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ChmsTian Classics ErheneaL Liknany 


Nicene and 
Post-Nicene Fathers 
Series I, Volume 13 


Philip Schaff 


ChmsTian Classics 

r > >gjj 

Erbeneal Libnany 


NPNF1-13. Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on Gala- 
tians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessa- 
lonians, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon 


i 


Author(s): 

Publisher: 

Description: 


Subjects: 


Chrysostom, St. 

Schaff, Philip (1819-1893) (Editor) 

Grand Rapids, Ml: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 

With over twenty volumes, the Nicene and Post-Nicene 
Fathers is a momentous achievement. Originally gathered 
by Philip Schaff, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers is a 
collection of writings by classical and medieval Christian 
theologians.The purpose of such a collection is to make their 
writings readily available. The entire work is divided into two 
series. The first series focuses on two classical Christian 
theologians-St. Augustine and St. John Chrysostom. St. 
Augustine is one of the most influential and important Chris- 
tian thinkers of all time. In addition to reprinting his most 
popular two works-the Confessions and the City of 
God- these volumes also contain other noteworthy and im- 
portant works of St. Augustine, such as On the Holy Trinity, 
Christian Doctrine, and others. St. John Chrysostom was an 
eloquent speaker and well-loved Christian clergyman. St. 
John took a more literal interpretation of Scripture, and much 
of his work focused on practical aspects of Christianity, par- 
ticularly what is now called social justice. He advocated for 
the poor, and challenged abuses of authority. The Nicene 
and Post-Nicene Fathers is comprehensive in scope, and 
provide keen translations of instructive and illuminating texts 
from some of the greatest theologians of the Christian church. 
These spiritually enlightening texts have aided Christians for 
over a thousand years, and remain instructive and fruitful 
even today! 

Tim Perrine 
CCEL Staff Writer 

Christianity 

Biography 


Contents 



Title Page 1 

St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 2 

The Commentary and Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Galatians and Ephesians. 6 

Title Page. 6 

Preface. 7 

Commentary on Galatians. 8 

Galatians 1:1—3 8 

Galatians 2:1,2 31 

Galatians 3:1 49 

Galatians 4:1-3 62 

Galatians 5:1 73 

Galatians 6:1 86 

Homilies on Ephesians. 96 

The Argument. 96 

Ephesians 1:1—2 98 

Ephesians 1:11-14 108 

Ephesians 1:15-20 116 

Ephesians 2:1-3 127 

Ephesians 2:11,12 136 

Ephesians 2:17-22 144 

Ephesians 3:8-11 153 

Ephesians 4:1,2 162 

Ephesians 4:1-3 179 

Ephesians 4:4 187 

Ephesians 4:4-7 193 

Ephesians 4:17 205 

Ephesians 4:17-19 211 

Ephesians 4:25-27 220 

Ephesians 4.31 228 

Ephesians 4:31,32 236 

Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 241 

Ephesians 5:5,6 247 

iii 



Ephesians 5:15,16,17 256 

Ephesians 5:22-24 267 

Ephesians 6:1-3 285 

Ephesians 6:5-8 293 

Ephesians 6:14 304 

Ephesians 6:14-17 311 

The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians. 322 
Title Page. 322 

Preface. 323 

Homilies on Philippians. 325 

Introductory Discourse. 325 

Philippians 1:1,2 330 

Philippians 1:8-11 338 

Philippians 1:18-20 347 

Philippians 1:22-26 354 

Philippians 2:1-4 363 

Philippians 2:5-8 369 

Philippians 2:5-11 380 

Philippians 2:12-16 391 

Philippians 2:19-21 399 

Philippians 3:1-3 410 

Philippians 3:7-10 418 

Philippians 3:13,14 425 

Philippians 3:18-21 432 

Philippians 4:4-7 439 

Philippians 4:10-14 445 

Homilies on Colossians. 456 

Colossians 1:1,2 456 

Colossians 1:9,10 468 

Colossians 1:15-18 479 

Colossians 1:21,22 489 

Colossians 1:26-28 497 


IV 



505 


Colossians 2:6,7 

Colossians 2:16-19 513 

Colossians 3:5-7 523 

Colossians 3:16,17 535 

Colossians 3:18-25 541 

Colossians 4:5,6 551 

Colossians 4:12,13 560 

Homilies on First Thessalonians. 573 

1 Thessalonians 1:1-3 573 

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 581 

1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 589 

1 Thessalonians 3:5-8 601 

1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 610 

1 Thessalonians 4:9,10 617 

1 Thessalonians 4:13 625 

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 631 

1 Thessalonians 5:1,2 640 

1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 650 

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 658 

Homilies on 2 Thessalonians. 666 

Argument. 666 

2 Thessalonians 1:1,2 671 

2 Thessalonians 1:9,10 679 

2 Thessalonians 2:6-9 686 

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 694 

The Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. 703 

Title Page. 703 

Preface. 704 

Homilies on 1 Timothy. 706 

Argument. 706 

1 Timothy 1:1,2 708 

1 Timothy 1:5-7 716 


v 



1 Timothy 1:12-14 

723 

1 Timothy 1:15,16 

729 

1 Timothy 1:18,19 

736 

1 Timothy 2:1-4 

741 

1 Timothy 2:2-4 

746 

1 Timothy 2:8-10 

752 

1 Timothy 2:11-15 

757 

1 Timothy 3:1-4 

762 

1 Timothy 3:8-10 

768 

1 Timothy 4:1-3 

774 

1 Timothy 4:11-14 

782 

1 Timothy 5.8 

790 

1 Timothy 5:11-15 

800 

1 Timothy 5:21-23 

809 

1 Timothy 6:2-7 

815 

1 Timothy 6:13-16 

822 

Homilies on 2 Timothy. 

827 

2 Timothy 1:1,2 

827 

2 Timothy 1:8-10 

835 

2 Timothy 1:13-18 

843 

2 Timothy 2:1-7 

849 

2 Timothy 2:11-14 

857 

2 Timothy 2:20,21 

864 

2 Timothy 3:1-7 

872 

2 Timothy 3:1-4 

879 

2 Timothy 3:16,17 

888 

2 Timothy 4:9-13 

895 

Homilies on Titus. 

904 

Titus 1:1-4 

904 

Titus 1:5,6 

913 

Titus 1:12-14 

920 

Titus 2:2-5 

927 


VI 



Titus 2:11-14 934 

Titus 3:8-11 943 

Homilies on Philemon. 950 

Argument. 950 

Philemon 1:1-3 954 

Philemon 1:4-6 960 

Philemon 1:17-19 969 

Indexes of Subjects 975 

Homilies on Galatians and Ephesians 976 

Homilies on Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians 988 

Homilies on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon 1026 

Indexes 1043 

Index of Scripture References 1044 

Greek Words and Phrases 1053 

Index of Pages of the Print Edition 1057 


vii 



m ChmsTian Classics 
£ T J ]eKea l Libnatiy 


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Title Page 


A SELECT LIBRARY 
OF THE 

NICENE AND 
POST-NICENE FATHERS 

OF 

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. 

EDITED BY 

PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., LL.D., 

PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY IN THE UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, 

NEW YORK. 

IN CONNECTION WITH A NUMBER OF PATRISTIC SCHOLARS OF EUROPE 

AND AMERICA. 

VOLUME XIII 

SAINT CHRYSOSTOM: 

HOMILIES ON GALATIANS, EPHESIANS, PHILIPPIANS, COLOSSIANS, THESSA- 
LONIANS, TIMOTHY, TITUS, AND PHILEMON. 

T&T CLARK 
EDINBURGH 


WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN 


1 



St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 


St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 

By the American Editor of the Homilies on Philippians, Colossians, and Thessa- 

lonians. 


These Homilies are often less complete in exposition than those on earlier books of the 
New Testament, and in literary excellence will not compare with the Homilies on the Statues, 
and many other discourses given at Antioch. But to the student of preaching, they are quite 
as instructive, if not really more so. Here at Constantinople the great preacher was burdened 
with administrative details, and harassed by Court intrigues, so that his sermons were often 
given with far less than his earlier careful preparation, and seem to have been generally left 
afterwards to the mercy of shorthand reporters, and of editors who sent them forth when 
he was in banishment or in the grave. Any minister who has winced to see an unwritten 
sermon or other address of his own in the morning paper, with the accumulated and inter- 
laced mistakes of reporter, compositor, and proof- corrector, can sympathize with the situ- 
ation. But in fact the preacher thus appears in undress, and his methods may be in some 
respects the subject of a more profitable inspection. You see the sermon in about as imperfect, 
and sometimes distorted, a condition as it is seen in the actual delivery by many of the 
congregation. You see the frequent questions, the abrupt turns of phrase, the multiplied 
repetitions, by which a skilled and sympathetic preacher, keenly watching his audience, 
strives to retain attention and to insure a more general comprehension. You are drawn near 
to him, and almost stand by his side. 

John of the Golden Mouth is, upon the whole, our very best example, — most richly in- 
structive and fruitfully inspiring, — in respect of expository preaching, which is of late begin- 
ning to be more highly valued and more frequently attempted in our country than ever before. 
We have many good models in Scotland, some in England, and a few at home. Nor should 
the student ever forget Luther, or fail to profit by the peculiar methods of some recent 
Germans; but one who is reasonably endowed with historical sympathy can learn most from 
Chrysostom. The study of an ancient preacher is in this respect like the study of the Greek 
and Latin classics, that it demands sympathy with ideas and persons far away from ourselves, 
thus broadening the intellect, invigorating the imagination, and deepening in us a true 
feeling for all that is human. One who is at first without interest in Chrysostom, perhaps 
even repelled by the extravagant expressions, the heaped- up imagery, the frequent bad taste 
(at least, according to our standards), of this eminently representative Asiatic Greek, is 
precisely the man that ought to read Chrysostom, if he wishes to educate himself in the 
broadest and highest sense. Study the great preacher till you can thoroughly appreciate and 
heartily enjoy him. This will be much aided, of course, by reading a biography, as that by 


2 



St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 


Stephens, or the long article in Smith’s Dictionary of Christian Biography, or the introductory 
biographical sketch in the ninth volume of this series. You very soon find that he is pro- 
foundly in earnest, and all alive. Christianity is with him a living reality. He dwells always 
in its presence and companionship. We may discern what seem to us grave errors of doc- 
trinal opinion, but we feel the quickening pulses of genuine Christian love and zeal. And 
how fully he sympathizes with his hearers ! He thoroughly knows them, ardently loves them, 
has a like temperament, shares not a little in the faults of his age and his race, as must always 
be the case with a truly inspiring orator or poet. Even when severely rebuking, when blazing 
with indignation, he never seems alien, never stands aloof, but throws himself among them, 
in a very transport of desire to check, and rescue, and save. Is there, indeed, any preacher, 
ancient or modern, who in these respects equals John Chrysostom? 

His homilies are not directly a model for us, as regards the construction of discourse. 
The early Christians disliked to hear, or make, a smoothly symmetrical and elegantly finished 
oration like those of the secular orators. They wished for familiar and free addresses, such 
as we call a prayer-meeting talk; and this was precisely the meaning of their words “homily” 
and “sermon.” The preacher took up his passage of Scripture — usually somewhat exten- 
ded — in a familiar way, sentence by sentence, with explanations and remarks, as he saw 
occasion; sometimes we find Chrysostom actually returning to go over the passage again, 
that it may suggest further remarks. At length, he would be apt to seize upon some topic of 
doctrine or practice which the text had directly or remotely suggested, and discuss that by 
way of conclusion, not infrequently wandering far off into the thoughts which one after 
another occurred. Now, modern taste requires much more system and symmetry in building 
a discourse. The Schoolmen taught their pupils to analyze and arrange , 1 and modern 
preaching has taken the corresponding form, for good and for ill. An expository sermon of 
to-day must be much more systematic in its explanations, and much more regular in its 
entire construction, than those of the ancient preachers. Admirable models in this direction 
are furnished in Scotland. But while conforming to modern taste as to structure, one may 
learn much, very much, from the preachers of the early centuries, especially from Chrysostom, 
in respect of freedom, versatility, and skill in practical application. The modern careful 
preparation and orderly arrangement, combined ( mutatis mutandis) with the ancient freedom 
and directness, and reduced to harmony and vital symmetry by zealous practice, might 
constitute the best type of expository preaching. 

And it may be repeated that Chrysostom is not least helpful in these expository talks 
on the shorter epistles of Paul. Though often appearing fragmentary, they lay bare his ha- 


1 How this came about, the editor has sought to explain in his “Lectures on the History of Preaching” (New 
York, Armstrong), p. 103 f. 


3 



St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 


bitual processes and reveal his most vigorous powers, and are not wanting in passages that 
burst into passion or shine in splendor. 

Their value is increased rather than lessened for thoughtful readers by the restoration 
of the true text. The Oxford translation of the Homilies on these Epistles was published 
(1843) before the appearance of the corresponding volume of Field’s critical edition of the 
Greek text (1855). The translation was based, for Philippians, on the edition of Chrysostom’s 
Works by the English scholar Savile (1612), with some comparison of the Benedictine edition 
by Montfaucon (1718), and the Paris or Second Benedictine edition (1834-1839); and for 
Colossians and Thessalonians, on the Paris edition, with comparison of Savile. There was 
also occasional use of some collations from one ms. for Philippians, and one or two more 
for Thessalonians. Field has pointed out that the Benedictine and the Paris, and other editions, 
including that ofMigne (1863), really followed, with slight alteration, the text of Savile. But 
the earliest edition of Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Epistles of Paul, published at Verona 
in 1529, presents a very different text; and Field’s careful study of collations from four mss. 
for Philippians, six for Colossians, and five for Thessalonians, together with the Catena, 
satisfied him that the Verona edition had in general given the true text, and he has reproduced 
it, with such alterations as the mss. generally agreeing with it appeared, in his judgment, to 
require. The American editor was at first inclined to think that Field had been unduly influ- 
enced by the Catena, which would naturally abridge its extracts, particularly in drawing 
from an author so efflorescent and repetitious as Chrysostom, and which had often appeared 
to do so when he was studying it throughout the Gospel of Matthew. But after going through 
Philippians with the construction of a composite text, which was felt to be inconsistent and 
unsatisfactory, like that of the Oxford translator and that of Migne, the editor was not far 
advanced in Colossians before he saw clearly that the Verona text as rewrought by Field 
was, beyond question, generally correct and greatly to be preferred. Accordingly the whole 
of this portion, Philippians as well as the rest, has been conformed to Field’s text, except in 
occasional passages, where Field’s own mss. were thought to indicate otherwise, and these 
have been pointed out in the foot-notes if they possessed the least importance. The foot- 
notes also present some few specimens of the numerous enlargements and explanatory 
changes or transitional additions by which the altered text printed by Savile and his followers 
sought to piece out and smooth into literary propriety the rough, fragmentary, and sometimes 
obscure expressions of the true text.“ It was only when nearly all this work had been done 

2 Persons interested in text-criticism may care to know that Field’s volume for the Homilies on these Epistles, 
with a digest of various readings, would strikingly illustrate for them, in different material, the scientific principles 
and methods of Westcott and Hort. In the Homilies on Colossians they will find (out of six mss. collated for 
Field, viz., ABCDE H), a well-marked and singularly uniform group of three, viz., B C H, presenting the pe- 
culiarities of the altered text, adopted in many passages by Savile and followers, but in many others not adopted. 
The “internal evidence of groups,” as described by Westcott and Hort in vol. ii„ Schaff s Companion to the Bible, 


4 



St. Chrysostom as a Homilist. 


that the editor observed that some other portions of the Oxford translation were originally 
based on Field’s text, which for those portions had appeared in time for the purpose. Thus 
his part of the work has in fact become assimilated to the American edition for Matthew, 
and for Acts and Romans. 

The translation of the Oxford edition shows general excellence, and frequent felicity of 
English expression. Besides the numerous cases of differences in text, the translation has 
been altered where the syntax seemed to be misunderstood, where the passion for variety 
of rendering (as often in the common or authorized English version of the Bible) had ob- 
scured the verbal connection of passages, &c. It is possible that the American editor, in his 
love for Chrysostom’s freedom and downrightness, has sometimes gone to the opposite 
extreme from that of the translators in England, and become too baldly literal. 

The foot-notes in square brackets are from the editor. The others are from the Oxford 
translators, being retained except where they were superseded by the change of text or of 
translation, or for some other reason appeared to be no longer useful. Their references to 
other volumes of the Oxford edition have been conformed in the paging to the American 
edition for Matthew, Acts, and Romans, and the Statues; elsewhere the pages were simply 
omitted. — J.A.B. 


or Warfield’s Textual Criticism, may be here applied with great ease and assured results. In Thessalonians (out 
of five mss., B C I K L) B and C are the same documents as before, but C here presents marked differences of 
text. B K, with or without one or two other mss., will be found very generally wrong, with the peculiarities of 
the altered text. C sometimes joins them, but oftener stands aloof, frequently uniting with I or L in giving the 
true text, and sometimes standing alone for the right. In Philippians (out of four mss., C E F G) C G will quite 
frequently give the altered text, but there is not such uniformity as in the Homilies on the other Epistles. It may 
be added that (as Field also remarks) the alterations throughout the Homilies on these Epistles show a marked 
family likeness, and doubtless came from the same early critical editor, who, however, altered much more freely 
in some Homilies (as on Philippians) than in others (as on 2 Thess.). The altered text sometimes places 
Chrysostom among the supporters of a “Syrian” reading of the New Testament, where his real text is not so, but 
the instances observed in these Homilies are not so numerous as to affect his general position. It is to be hoped 
that other mss. of Chrysostom will be collated, and more complete materials be at hand for future critics to settle 
details now remaining uncertain, and perhaps to throw light on the origin of the altered or Savilian text; but the 
superiority of the Verona type, as given by Field, is not at all likely to be ever again otherwise than clear and as- 
sured. 


5 



The Commentary and Homilies of St. John Chrysostom on Galatians and Eph... 


THE COMMENTARY 

AND 

HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM 

ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, 

ON THE 

EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE 

TO THE 

GALATIANS AND EPHESIANS. 


The Oxford Translations Revised, with Additional Notes, by 

REV. GROSS ALEXANDER, D.D., 

PROFESSOR OF NEW TESTAMENT GREEK IN VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, NASHVILLE, TENN. 


6 



Preface. 


Preface. 


St. Chrysostom’s Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians is continuous, according 
to chapter and verse, instead of being arranged in Homilies, with a moral or practical applic- 
ation at their close, as in his exposition of other Epistles. It was written in Antioch, as 
Montfaucon infers from a reference which the Author, makes upon Chap, i., ver. 16 (p. 20) 
to other of his writings, which certainly were written about the same time in that city. Vid. 
Horn. deMutal. Nom., Tom. III., p. 98, Ed. Ben. The year is uncertain, but seems not to have 
been earlier than a.d. 395. 

The Homilies on the Epistle to the Ephesians have been by some critics assigned to the 
Episcopate at Constantinople, in consequence of certain imperfections in their composition, 
which seemed to argue absence of the comparative leisure which he enjoyed at Antioch. 
There is a passage too in Homily XI., pp. 231, 232, which certainly is very apposite to the 
Author’s circumstance in the court of Eudoxia. Yet there are strong reasons for deciding 
that they too were delivered at Antioch. St. Babylas and St. Julian, both saints at Antioch, 
are mentioned familiarly, the former in Homily IX., p. 205, the latter in Homily XXI., pp. 
342, 343. Monastic establishments in mountains in the neighborhood are spoken of in 
Homily VI., p. 165, and XIII., p. 248; and those near Antioch are famous in St. Chrysostom’s 
history. A schism too is alluded to in Homily XI., p. 230, as existing in the community he 
was addressing, and that not about a question of doctrine; circumstances which are accurately 
fulfilled in the contemporary history of Antioch, and which are more or less noticed in the 
Homilies on 1 Corinthians, which were certainly delivered at Antioch. 3 4 

Moreover, he makes mention of the prevalence of superstitions, Gentile and Jewish, 
among the people whom he was addressing, in Homily VI., fin., p. 166, Homily XII., fin., 
p. 240, which is a frequent ground of complaint in his other writings against the Christians 
of Antioch: vid. in Gal. p. 15; in 1 Cor., Homily XII., §§ 13, 14; in Col., Homily VIII., fin.; 
Contr. Jud. I., pp. 386-388. 

Since Evagrius, the last Bishop of the Latin succession in the schism, died in a.d. 392, 
these Homilies must have been composed before that date. 

As to the Translations, the Editors have been favored with the former by a friend who 
conceals his name; and with the latter, by the Rev. William John Copeland, M.A., Fellow of 
Trinity College, Oxford. 

J.H. Newman 


3 Vid. also XXI., p. 338. 

4 Vid. also Preface to Translation of Homilies on 1 Cor., p. xiii. 

7 



Commentary on Galatians. 


COMMENTARY 5 OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, 

ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, 

ON THE 


EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE 


TO THE 

GALATIANS. 


Chapter I. 

Verse 1-3 

“Paul, an Apostle, (not from men, neither through man, but through Jesus Christ and God 
the Father, who raised Him from the dead;) and all the brethren which are with me, unto 
the Churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus 
Christ. ” 

The exordium 6 is full of a vehement and lofty spirit, and not the exordium only, but 
also, so to speak, the whole Epistle. For always to address one’s disciples with mildness, even 


5 [PROPERLY SO-CALLED. HIS OTHER WORKS ON THE SCRIPTURES ARE IN THE FORM OF 
HOMILIES, OR EXPOSITORY SERMONS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF HIS CONTINUOUS COMMENTARY 
ON THE FIRST SIX CHAPTERS OF ISAIAH. BUT AS SCHAFF SAYS “HIS HOMILIES ARE EXPOSITORY 
AND HIS COMMENTARIES ARE HOMILETIC A T..” — G. A.] 

6 “The two threads which run through this Epistle — the defence of the Apostle’s own authority, and the 
maintenance of the doctrine of grace — are knotted together in the opening salutation. By expanding his official 
title into a statement of his direct commission from God, he meets the personal attack of his enemies; and by 
dwelling on the work of redemption in connection with the name of Christ (v. 4.) he resists their doctrinal er- 
rors.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


Galatians 1:1—3 


when they need severity is not the part of a teacher but it would be the part of a corrupter 
and enemy. Wherefore our Lord too, though He generally spoke gently to His disciples, 
here and there uses sterner language, and at one time pronounces a blessing, at another a 
rebuke. Thus, having said to Peter, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona,” (Matt. xvi. 17.) and 
having promised to lay the foundation of the Church upon his confession, shortly afterwards 
He says, “Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art a stumbling block unto Me.” (Matt. xvi. 23.) 
Again, on another occasion, “Are ye also even yet without understanding?” (Matt. xv. 16.) 
And what awe He inspired them with appears from John’s saying, that, when they beheld 
Him conversing with the Samaritan woman, though they reminded Him to take food, no 
one ventured to say, “What seekest Thou, or why speakest thou with her?” (John iv. 27.) 
Thus taught, and walking in the steps of his Master, Paul hath varied his discourse according 
to the need of his disciples, at one time using knife and cautery, at another, applying mild 
remedies. To the Corinthians he says, “What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or 
in love, and in a spirit of meekness?” (1 Cor. vi. 21.) but to the Galatians, “O foolish Gala- 
tians.” (Gal. iii. 1.) And not once only, but a second time, also he has employed this reproof, 
and towards the conclusion he says with a reproachful allusion to them, “Let no man trouble 
me;” (Gal. vi. 17.) but he soothes them again with the words, “My little children, of whom 
I am again in travail:” (Gal. iv. 19.) and so in many other instances. 

Now that this Epistle breathes an indignant spirit, is obvious to every one even on the 
first perusal; but I must explain the cause of his anger against the disciples. Slight and unim- 
portant it could not be, or he would not have used such vehemence. For to be exasperated 
by common matters is the part of the little-minded, morose, and peevish; just as it is that 
of the more redolent and sluggish to lose heart in weighty ones. Such a one was not Paul. 
What then was the offence which roused him? it was grave and momentous, one which was 
estranging them all from Christ, as he himself says further on, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, 
that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing;” (Gal. v. 2.) and again, “Ye 
who would be justified by the Law, ye are fallen away from Grace.” (Gal. v. 4.) What then 
is this? For it must be explained more clearly. Some of the Jews who believed, being held 
down by the preposessions of Judaism, and at the same time intoxicated by vain- glory, and 
desirous of obtaining for themselves the dignity of teachers, came to the Galatians, and 
taught them that the observance of circumcision, sabbaths, and new-moons, was necessary, 
and that Paul in abolishing these things was not to be borne. For, said they, Peter and James 
and John, the chiefs of the Apostles and the companions of Christ, forbade them not. Now 
in fact they did not forbid these things, but this was not byway of delivering positive doctrine, 
but in condescension to the weakness of the Jewish believers, which condescension Paul 
had no need of when preaching to the Gentiles; but when he was in Judaea, he employed it 


9 


Galatians 1:1—3 


n 

himself also. But these deceivers, by withholding the causes both of Paul’s condescension 
and that of his brethren, misled the simpler ones, saying that he was not to be tolerated, for 
he appeared but yesterday, while Peter and his colleagues were from the first, — that he was 
a disciple of the Apostles, but they of Christ, — that he was single, but they were many, and 
pillars of the Church. They accused him too of acting a part; saying, that this very man who 
forbids circumcision observes the rite elsewhere, and preaches one way to you and another 
way to others. 

Since Paul then saw the whole Galatian people in a state of excitement, a flame kindled 
against their Church, and the edifice shaken and tottering to its fall, filled with the mixed 
feelings of just anger and despondency, (which he has expressed in the words, “I could wish 
to be present with you now, and to change my voice,” — Gal. iv. 20.) he writes the Epistle as 
an answer to these charges. This is his aim from the very commencement, for the under- 
miners of his reputation had said, The others were disciples of Christ but this man of the 
“Apostles.” Wherefore he begins thus, “Paul, an Apostle not from men, neither through 
man.” For, these deceivers, as I was saying before, had said that this man was the last of all 
the Apostles and was taught by them, for Peter, James, and John, were both first called, and 
held a primacy among the disciples, and had also received their doctrines from Christ 
Himself; and that it was therefore fitting to obey them rather than this man; and that they 
forbad not circumcision nor the observance of the Law. By this and similar language and 
by depreciating Paul, and exalting the honor of the other Apostles, though not spoken for 
the sake of praising them, but of deceiving the Galatians, they induced them to adhere un- 
seasonably to the Law. Hence the propriety of his commencement. As they disparaged his 
doctrine, saying it came from men, while that of Peter came from Christ, he immediately 
addresses himself to this point, declaring himself an apostle “not from men, neither through 
man.” It was Ananias who baptized him, but it was not he who delivered him from the way 
of error and initiated him into the faith; but Christ Himself sent from on high that wondrous 
voice, whereby He inclosed him in his net. For Peter and his brother, and John and his 
brother, He called when walking by the seaside, (Matt. iv. 18.) but Paul after His ascension 
into heaven. (Acts. ix. 3, 4.) And just as these did not require a second call, but straightway 
left their nets and all that they had, and followed Him, so this man at his first vocation 
pressed vigorously forward, waging, as soon as he was baptized, an implacable war with the 
Jews. In this respect he chiefly excelled the other Apostles, as he says, “I labored more 
abundantly than they all;” (1 Cor. xv. 10.) at present, however, he makes no such claim, but 
is content to be placed on a level with them. Indeed his great object was, not to establish 
any superiority for himself, but, to overthrow the foundation of their error. The not being 


7 [As is narrated, for example, in Acts xxi. 20-26, which was, Baur and his Tubingen critics to the contrary 
notwithstanding, in accordance with Paul’s principle and practice, as announced in 1 Cor. ix. 20. — G.A.] 


10 


Galatians 1:1—3 


“from men” has reference to all alike for the Gospel’s root and origin is divine, but the not 
being “through man” is peculiar to the Apostles; for He called them not by men’s agency, 

o 

but by His own. 

But why does he not speak of his vocation rather than his apostolate, and say, “Paul” 
called “not by man?” Because here lay the whole question; for they said that the office of a 
teacher had been committed to him by men, namely by the Apostles, whom therefore it 
behooved him to obey. But that it was not entrusted to him by men, Luke declares in the 
words, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me 
Barnabas and Saul.” (Acts xiii. 2.) 

From this passage it is manifest 8 9 that the power of the Son and Spirit is one, for being 
commissioned by the Spirit, he says that he was commissioned by Christ. This appears in 
another place, from his ascription of the things of God to the Spirit, in the words which he 
addresses to the elders at Miletus: “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in the 
which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops.” (Acts xx. 28.) Yet in another Epistle he says, 
“And God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers.” 
(1 Cor. xii. 28.) Thus he ascribes indifferently the things of the Spirit to God, and the things 
of God to the Spirit. Here too he stops the mouths of heretics, by the words “through Jesus 
Christ and God the Father;” for, inasmuch as they said this term “through” was applied to 
the Son as importing inferiority, see what he does. He ascribes it to the Father, thus teaching 
us not to prescribe laws to the ineffable Nature, nor define the degrees of Godhead which 
belong to the Father and Son. For to the words “through Jesus Christ” he has added, “and 
God the Father;” for if at the mention of the Father alone he had introduced the phrase 
“through whom,” they might have argued sophistically that it was peculiarly applicable to 
the Father, in that the acts of the Son were to be referred to Him. But he leaves no opening 
for this cavil, by mentioning at once both the Son and the Father, and making his language 
apply to both. This he does, not as referring the acts of the Son to the Father, but to show 
that the expression implies no distinction of Essence. 10 Further, what can now be said by 

8 “Not from men as an ultimate, nor through man as a mediate authority.” — Ellicott. “In the first clause, ‘from 
men,’ he distinguishes himself from the false apostles who did not derive their authority from God at all; in the 
second, ‘through man,’ he ranks himself with the twelve who were commissioned directly from God. The singular 
is used in second clause, ‘through man,’ because offices which emanate from a body of men are conferred by 
their single representative.” — Lightfoot. [“Paul has in second clause used the singular because the contrast is ‘through 
Jesus Christ.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

9 This digression, and others which follow, were occasioned by the controversies of the day; the Arians and 
Macedonians denying the co-equality and consubstantiality of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

10 [“To urge this use of 5ta in connection with Son and the Father as direct evidence for the opoouota of the 
Father and the Son (as Chrysostom and Theod.) may perhaps be rightly deemed precarious. Yet there is something 


11 


Galatians 1:1—3 


those, who have gathered a notion of inferiority from the Baptismal formula, — from our 
being baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? * 1 1 For if the Son be inferior 
because He is named after the Father, what will they say seeing that, in the passage before 
us, the Apostle beginning from Christ proceeds to mention the Father? — but let us not even 
utter such a blasphemy, let us not swerve from the truth in our contention with them; rather 
let us preserve, even if they rave ten thousand times, the due measures of reverence. Since 
then it would be the height of madness and impiety to argue that the Son was greater than 
the Father because Christ was first named, so we dare not hold that the Son is inferior to 
the Father, because He is placed after Him in the Baptismal formula. 

“Who raised Him from the dead.” 

Wherefore is it, O Paul, that, wishing to bring these Judaizers to the faith, you introduce 
none of those great and illustrious topics which occur in your Epistle to the Philippians, as, 
“Who, being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God,” 
(Philip, ii. 6.) or which you afterwards declared in that to the Hebrews, “the effulgence of 
his glory, and the very image of His substance;” (Heb. i. 3.) or again, what in the opening 
of his Gospel the son of thunder sounded forth, “In the beginning was the Word, and the 
Word was with God, and the Word was God;” (Johni. 1..) or what Jesus Himself oftentimes 
declared to the Jews, “that His power and authority was equal to the Father’s?” (John v. 19, 
27, &c.) Do you omit all these, and make mention of the economy of His Incarnation only, 
bringing forward His cross and dying? “Yes,” would Paul answer. For had this discourse 
been addressed to those who had unworthy conceptions of Christ, it would have been well 
to mention those things; but, inasmuch as the disturbance comes from persons who fear to 
incur punishment should they abandon the Law, he therefore mentions that whereby all 
need of the Law is excluded, I mean the benefit conferred on all through the Cross and the 
Resurrection. To have said that “in the beginning was the Word,” and that “He was in the 
form of God, and made Himself equal with God,” and the like, would have declared the di- 
vinity of the Word, but would have contributed nothing to the matter in hand. Whereas it 
was highly pertinent thereto to add, “Who raised Him from the dead,” for our chiefest be- 
nefit was thus brought to remembrance, and men in general are less interested by discourses 
concerning the majesty of God, than by those which set forth the benefits which come to 
mankind. Wherefore, omitting the former topic, he discourses of the benefits which had 
been conferred on us. 

But here the heretics insultingly exclaim, “Lo, the Father raises the Son!” For when once 
infected, they are wilfully deaf to all sublimer doctrines; and taking by itself and insisting 


very noticeable in this use of a common preposition with both the first and second persons of the Trinity by a 
writer so cumulative and yet for the most part so exact in his use of prepositions as St. Paul.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

1 1 [That is, from the order of the three names. — G.A.] 


12 


Galatians 1:1—3 


on what is of a less exalted nature, and expressed in less exalted terms, either on account of 
the Son’s humanity, or in honor of the Father, or for some other temporary purpose, they 
outrage, I will not say the Scripture, but themselves. I would fain ask such persons, why they 
say this? do they hope to prove the Son weak and powerless to raise one body? Nay, verily, 
faith in Him enabled the very shadows of those who believed in Him to effect the resurrection 
of the dead. (Acts. v. 15.) Then believers in Him, though mortal, yet by the very shadows of 
their earthly bodies, and by the garments which had touched these bodies, could raise the 
dead, but He could not raise Himself? Is not this manifest madness, a great stretch of folly? 
Hast thou not heard His saying, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up?” 
(John ii. 19.) and again, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again?” 
(John x. 18.) Wherefore then is the Father said to have raised Him up, as also to have done 
other things which the Son Himself did? It is in honor of the Father, and in compassion to 
the weakness of the hearers. 

“And all the brethren which are with me.” 

Why is it that he has on no other occasion in sending an epistle added this phrase? For 
either he puts his own name only or that of two or three others, but here has mentioned the 
whole number and so has mentioned no one by name. 

On what account then does he this? 

They made the slanderous charge that he was singular in his preaching, and desired to 
introduce novelty in Christian teaching. Wishing therefore to remove their suspicion, and 
to show he had many to support him in his doctrine, he has associated with himself “the 
brethren, to show that what he wrote he wrote with their accord. 

“Unto the Churches of Galatia.” 

Thus it appears, that the flame of error had spread over not one or two cities merely, 
but the whole Galatian people. Consider too the grave indignation contained in the phrase, 
“unto the Churches of Galatia:” he does not say, “to the beloved” or “to the sanctified,” and 
this omission of all names of affection or respect, and this speaking of them as a society 
merely, without the addition “Churches of God,” for it is simply “Churches of Galatia,” is 
strongly expressive of deep concern and sorrow. Here at the outset, as well as elsewhere, he 
attacks their irregularities, and therefore gives them the name of “Churches,” in order to 
shame them, and reduce them to unity. For persons split into many parties cannot properly 
claim this appellation, for the name of “Church” is a name of harmony and concord. 

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” 


12 [Meyer agrees with Lightfoot and Ellicott in the view that Ttavrec means not all the Christians of the place 
where he was (probably Ephesus), but only his traveling companions; but he differs from them in holding that 
“the impressive effect of the epistle could not but be strengthened by indicating that these brethren collectively 
desired to address the very same instructions, warnings and exhortations to the Galatians.” — G.A.] 


13 


Galatians 1:1—3 


This he always mentions as indispensible, and in this Epistle to the Galatians especially; 
for since they were in danger of falling from grace he prays that they may recover it again, 
and since they had come to be at war with God, he beseeches God to restore them to the 
same peace. 

“God the Father.” 

Here again is a plain confutation of the heretics, who say that John in the opening of 
his Gospel, where he says “the Word was God,” used the word 0e oq without the article, to 
imply an inferiority in the Son’s Godhead; and that Paul, where he says that the Son was “in 
the form of God,” did not mean the Father, because the word ©soc; is without the article. 
For what can they say here, where Paul says, onto ©sou flctrpoc;, and not duo rou ©sou? And 
it is in no indulgent mood towards them that he calls God, “Father,” but by way of severe 
rebuke, and suggestion of the source whence they became sons, for the honor was vouchsafed 
to them not through the Faw, but through the washing of regeneration. Thus everywhere, 
even in his exordium, he scatters traces of the goodness of God, and we may conceive him 
speaking thus: “O ye who were lately slaves, enemies and aliens, what right have ye suddenly 
acquired to call God your Father? it was not the Faw which conferred upon you this relation- 
ship; why do ye therefore desert Him who brought you so near to God, and return to your 
tutor? 13 

But the Name of the Son, as well as that of the Father, had been sufficient to declare to 
them these blessings. This will appear, if we consider the Name of the Ford Jesus Christ 
with attention; for it is said, “thou shalt call His Name Jesus; for it is He that shall save His 
people from their sins;” (Matt. i. 21 .) and the appellation of “Christ” calls to mind the unction 
of the Spirit. 

Ver. 4. “Who gave himself for our sins.” 14 

Thus it appears, that the ministry which He undertook was free and uncompelled; that 
He was delivered up by Himself, not by another. Fet not therefore the words of John, “that 
the Father gave His only-begotten Son” (John iii. 16.) for us, lead you to derogate from the 
dignity of the Only-begotten, or to infer therefrom that He is only human. For the Father 
is said to have given Him, not as implying that the Son’s ministry was a servile one, but to 
teach us that it seemed good to the Father, as Paul too has shown in the immediate context: 


13 [The word is TtaiSaywYOi;, the same that is used in Gal. 3: 24, 25, and translated ‘school-master’ in the A.V., 
but ‘tutor’ in the Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 

14 [“The Galatians had practically ignored the atoning death of Christ; compare ii. 21 and v. 
4.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


14 


Galatians 1:1—3 


“according to the will of our God, and Father.” He says not “by the command,” but “according 
to the will,” for inasmuch as there is an unity of will in the Father and the Son, that which 
the Son wills, the Father wills also. 

“For our sins,” 15 says the Apostle; we had pierced ourselves with ten thousand evils, 
and had deserved the gravest punishment; and the Law not only did not deliver us, but it 
even condemned us, making sin more manifest, without the power to release us from it, or 
to stay the anger of God. But the Son of God made this impossibility possible for he remitted 
our sins, He restored us from enmity to the condition of friends, He freely bestowed on us 
numberless other blessings. 

Ver. 4. “That He might deliver us out of this present evil world.” 

Another class of heretics 16 seize upon these words of Paul, and pervert his testimony 
to an accusation of the present life. Lo, say they, he has called this present world evil, and 
pray tell me what does “world” [age] ai'cov mean but time measured by days and seasons? 
Is then the distinction of days and the course of the sun evil? no one would assert this even 
if he be carried away to the extreme of unreasonableness. “But” they say, “it is not the ‘time,’ 
but the present life,’ which he hath called evil.” Now the words themselves do not in fact 
say this; but the heretics do not rest in the words, and frame their charge from them, but 
propose to themselves a new mode of interpretation. At least therefore they must allow us 
to produce our interpretation, and the rather in that it is both pious and rational. We assert 
then that evil cannot be the cause of good, yet that the present life is productive of a thousand 
prizes and rewards. And so the blessed Paul himself extols it abundantly in the words, “But 
if to live in the flesh, if this is the fruit of my work, then what I shall choose I wont not;” 
(Philip, i. 22.) and then placing before himself the alternative of living upon earth, and de- 
parting and being with Christ, he decides for the former. But were this life evil, he would 
not have thus spoken of it, nor could any one, however strenuous his endeavor, draw it aside 
into the service of virtue. For no one would ever use evil for good, fornication for chastity, 
envy for benevolence. And so, when he says, that “the mind of the flesh is not subject to the 
law of God, neither indeed can it be,” (Rom. viii. 7.) he means that vice, as such, cannot be- 
come virtue; and the expression, “evil world,” must be understood to mean evil actions, and 
a depraved moral principle. Again, Christ came not to put us to death and deliver us from 
the present life in that sense, but to leave us in the world, and prepare us for a worthy parti- 
cipation of our heavenly abode. Wherefore He saith to the Father, “And these are in the 


15 [“The idea of satisfaction is implied not in the preposition uttep but the whole nature of the case.” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

16 That is, the Manichees, who considered matter intrinsically evil, and paid divine honors to the sun, moon, 
and stars. Vid. Epiph. Hcer. lxvi. [On Mani and the Manichean heresy see Schaff, Church History , Vol. II. pp. 
498-508 where a full account of the literature is given also. — G.A.] 


15 


Galatians 1:1—3 


world, and I come to Thee; I pray not that Thou shouldest take them from the world, but 
that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” (John xvii. 11, 15.) i.e., from sin. Further, 
those who will not allow this, but insist that the present life is evil, should not blame those 
who destroy themselves; for as he who withdraws himself from evil is not blamed, but 
deemed worthy of a crown, so he who by a violent death, by hanging or otherwise, puts an 
end to his life, ought not to be condemned. Whereas God punishes such men more than 
murderers, and we all regard them with horror, and justly; for if it is base to destroy others, 
much more is it to destroy one’s self. Moreover, if this life be evil, murderers would deserve 
a crown, as rescuing us from evil. Besides this, they are caught by their own words, for in 
that they place the sun in the first, and the moon in the second rank of their deities, and 
worship them as the givers of many goods, their statements are contradictory. For the use 
of these and the other heavenly bodies, is none other than to contribute to our present life, 
which they say is evil, by nourishing and giving light to the bodies of men and animals and 
bringing plants to maturity. How is it then that the constitution of this “evil life” is so min- 
istered to by those, who according to you are gods? Gods indeed they are not, far from it, 
but works of God created for our use; nor is this world evil. And if you tell me of murderers, 
of adulterers, of tomb-robbers, these things have nothing to do with the present life, for 
these offences proceed not from that life which we live in the flesh, but from a depraved 
will. For, if they were necessarily connected with this life, as embraced in one lot with it, no 
man would be free or pure from them, for no man can escape the characteristic accidents 
of humanity, such as, to eat and drink, to sleep and grow, to hunger and thirst, to be born 
and die, and the like; no man can ever become superior to these, neither sinner nor just 
man, king nor peasant, We all are subject to the necessity of nature. And so if vice were an 
essential element of this life, no one could avoid it, any more than the things just mentioned. 
And let me not be told that good men are rare, for natural necessity is insuperable by all, so 
that as long as one virtuous man shall be found, my argument will in no wise be invalidated. 
Miserable, wretched man! what is it thou sayest? Is this life evil, wherein we have learnt to 
know God, and meditate on things to come, and have become angels instead of men, and 
take part in the choirs of the heavenly powers? What other proof do we need of an evil and 
depraved mind? 

“Why then,” they say, “does Paul call the present life evil?” In calling the present world 
[age] evil, he has accommodated himself to our usage, who are wont to say, “I have had a 
bad day,” thereby complaining not of the time itself, but of actions or circumstances. And 
so Paul in complaining of evil principles of action has used these customary forms of speech; 
and he shows that Christ hath both delivered us from our offences, and secured us for the 
future. The first he has declared in the words, “Who gave Himself for our sins;” and by 
adding, “that He might deliver us out of this present evil world,” he has pronounced our 
future safety. For neither of these did the Law avail, but grace was sufficient for both. 


16 


Galatians 1:1—3 


1 7 

Ver. 4. “According to the will of our God and Father.” 

Since they were terrified by their notion that by deserting that old Law and adhering to 
the new, they should disobey God, who gave the Law, he corrects their error, and says, that 
this seemed good to the Father also: and not simply “the Father,” but “our Father,” which 
he does in order to affect them by showing that Christ has made His Father our Father. 

Ver. 5. “To whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 

This too is new and unusual, for we never find the word, “Amen” placed at the beginning 
of an Epistle, but a good way on; here, however he has it in his beginning, to show that what 
he had already said contained a sufficient charge against the Galatians, and that his argument 
was complete, for a manifest offence does not require an elaborate crimination. Having 
spoken of the Cross, and Resurrection, of redemption from sin and security for the future, 
of the purpose of the Father, and the will of the Son, of grace and peace and His whole gift, 
he concludes with an ascription of praise. 

Another reason for it is the exceeding astonishment into which he was thrown by the 
magnitude of the gift, the superabundance of the grace, the consideration who we were, and 
what God had wrought, and that at once and in a single moment of time. Unable to express 
this in words, he breaks out into a doxology, sending up for the whole world an eulogium, 
not indeed worthy of the subject, but such as was possible to him. Hence too he proceeds 
to use more vehement language; as if greatly kindled by a sense of the Divine benefits, for 
having said, “To whom be the glory for ever and ever, Amen,” he commences with a more 
severe reproof. 

1 Q 

Ver. 6. “I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from Him that called you in the 
grace of Christ, unto a different Gospel.” 

Like the Jews who persecuted Christ, they imagined their observance of the Law was 
acceptable to the Father, and he therefore shows that in doing this they displeased not only 
Christ, but the Father also, for that they fell away thereby not from Christ only, but from 
the Father also. As the old covenant was given not by the Father only, but also by the Son, 
so the covenant of grace proceeded from the Father as well as the Son, and Their every act 
is common: “All things whatsoever the Father hath are Mine.” (John xv. 16.) By saying that 
they had fallen off from the Father, he brings a twofold charge against them, of an apostasy, 
and of an immediate apostasy. The opposite extreme a late apostasy, is also blameworthy, 
but he who falls away at the first onset, and in the very skirmishing, displays an example of 
the most extreme cowardice, of which very thing he accuses them also saying: “How is this 


17 [“And not by our own merits, cf. rou KaAiaavroc, v. 6.” — Lightfoot. “The salvation was willed by God to 
whom Christ was obedient (Philip, ii. 9.).” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

18 [This note of time helps to fix the date of the Epistle as being about 56 or 57 during Paul’s two years’ stay 
at Ephesus (Acts 19: 10.). So most modern expositors, though Lightfoot and some others put it later. — G.A.] 

17 


Galatians 1:1—3 


that your seducers need not even time for their designs, but the first approaches suffice for 
your overthrow and capture? And what excuse can ye have? If this is a crime among friends, 
and he who deserts old and useful associates is to be condemned, consider what punishment 
he is obnoxious to who revolts from God that called him.” He says, “I marvel,” not only by 
way of reproof, that after such bounty, such a remission of their sins, such overflowing 
kindness, they had deserted to the yoke of servitude, but also in order to show, that the 
opinion he had had of them was a favorable and exalted one. For, had he ranked them among 
ordinary and easily deceived persons, he would not have felt surprise. “But since you,” he 
says, “are of the noble sort and have suffered, much, I do marvel.” Surely this was enough 
to recover and lead them back to their first expressions. He alludes to it also in the middle 
of the Epistle, “Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain.” (Gal. iii. 4.) “Ye 
are removing;” he says not, “ye are removed,” that is, “I will not believe or suppose that your 
seduction is complete;” this is the language of one about to recover them, which further on 
he expresses yet more clearly in the words, “I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord that 
ye will be none otherwise minded.” (Gal. v. 10.) 

“From Him that called you in the grace of Christ.” 

The calling is from the Father, but the cause of it is the Son. He it is who hath brought 
about reconciliation and bestowed it as a gift, for we were not saved by works in righteous- 
ness: or I should rather say that these blessings proceed from Both; as He says, “Mine are 
Thine, and Thine are Mine.” (John xvii. 10.) He says not “ye are removing from the Gospel” 
but “from God who called you,” a more frightful expression, and more likely to affect them. 
Their seducers did not act abruptly but gradually, and while they removed them from the 
faith in fact, left names unchanged. It is the policy of Satan not to set his snares in open 
view; had they urged them to fall away from Christ, they would have been shunned as de- 
ceivers and corrupters, but suffering them so far to continue in the faith, and putting upon 
their error the name of the Gospel, without fear they undermined the building employing 
the terms which they used as a sort of curtain to conceal the destroyers themselves. As 
therefore they gave the name of Gospel to this their imposture, he contends against the very 
name, and boldly says, “unto a different Gospel,” — 

Ver. 7. “Which is not another Gospel.” 



18 


Galatians 1:1—3 


And justly, for there is not another. 19 Nevertheless the Marcionites 20 are misled by this 
phrase, as diseased persons are injured even by healthy food, for they have seized upon it, 
and exclaim, “So Paul himself has declared there is no other Gospel.” For they do not allow 
all the Evangelists, but one only, and him mutilated and confused according to their pleasure. 
Their explanation of the words, “according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,” 
(Rom. xvi. 25.) is sufficiently ridiculous; nevertheless, for the sake of those who are easily 
seduced, it is necessary to refute it. We assert, therefore, that, although a thousand Gospels 
were written, if the contents of all were the same, they would still be one, and their unity no 
wise infringed by the number of writers. So, on the other hand, if there were one writer only, 
but he were to contradict himself, the unity of the things written would be destroyed. For 
the oneness of a work depends not on the number of its authors, but on the agreement or 
contradictoriness of its contents. Whence it is clear that the four Gospels are one Gospel; 
for, as the four say the same thing, its oneness is preserved by the harmony of the contents, 
and not impaired by the difference of persons. And Paul is not now speaking of the number 
but of the discrepancy of the things spoken. With justice might they lay hold of this expres- 
sion, if the Gospels of Matthew and Luke differed in the signification of their contents, and 
in their doctrinal accuracy; but as they are one and the same, let them cease being senseless 
and pretending to be ignorant of these things which are plain to the very children. 

Ver. 7. “Only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ.” 

That is to say, ye will not recognize another Gospel, so long as your mind is sane, so 
long as your vision remains healthy, and free from distorted and imaginary phantoms. For 
as the disordered eye mistakes the object presented to it, so does the mind when made turbid 
by the confusion of evil thoughts. Thus the madman confounds objects; but this insanity is 
more dangerous than a physical malady, for it works injury not in the regions of sense, but 
of the mind; it creates confusion not in the organ of bodily vision, but in the eye of the un- 
derstanding. 

9 1 

“And would pervert the Gospel of Christ.” They had, in fact, only introduced one or 
two commandments, circumcision and the observance of days, but he says that the Gospel 


19 [The Revised version brings out the difference of the words for “another.” The erepov, “a different kind 
of’ gospel, the second is aAAo, “another,” simply. “To a different sort of gospel, — nay, it is not another gospel. 
There cannot be two gospels. Only certain men are troubling you and trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But 
a perverted gospel is no gospel at all.” — G.A.] 

20 Marcion flourished about a.d. 120-130. His doctrine was a compound of various preceding theologies, 
chiefly the Gnostic. He received only a part of St. Luke’s Gospel. Tertull. in Marc. iv. 2-4. He it was who on 
asking Polycarp to “acknowledge” him, received for answer, “I acknowledge thee as the first-born of Satan.” 

21 [SeAovret;: On this word Jerome aptly says, Voluntsed non valent. The troubling of the Galatians, however, 
did actually take place. — G.A.] 


19 


Galatians 1:1—3 


was subverted, in order to show that a slight adulteration vitiates the whole. For as he who 
but partially pares away the image on a royal coin renders the whole spurious, so he who 
swerves ever so little from the pure faith, soon proceeds from this to graver errors, and be- 
comes entirely corrupted. Where then are those who charge us with being contentious in 
separating from heretics, and say that there is no real difference between us except what 
arises from our ambition? Let them hear Paul’s assertion, that those who had but slightly 
innovated, subverted the Gospel. Not to say that the Son of God is a created Being, is a small 
matter. Know you not that even under the elder covenant, a man who gathered sticks on 
the sabbath, and transgressed a single commandment, and that not a great one, was punished 
with death? (Num. xv. 32, 36.) and that Uzzah, who supported the Ark when on the point 
of being overturned, was struck suddenly dead, because he had intruded upon an office 
which did not pertain to him? (2 Sam. vi. 6, 7.) Wherefore if to transgress the sabbath, and 
to touch the falling Ark, drew down the wrath of God so signally as to deprive the offender 
of even a momentary respite, shall he who corrupts unutterably awful doctrines find excuse 
and pardon? Assuredly not. A want of zeal in small matters is the cause of all our calamities; 
and because slight errors escape fitting correction, greater ones creep in. As in the body, a 
neglect of wounds generates fever, mortification, and death; so in the soul, slight evils 
overlooked open the door to graver ones. It is accounted a trivial fault that one man should 
neglect fasting; that another, who is established in the pure faith, dissembling on account 
of circumstances, should surrender his bold profession of it, neither is this anything great 
or dreadful; that a third should be irritated, and threaten to depart from the true faith, is 
excused on the plea of passion and resentment. Thus a thousand similar errors are daily 
introduced into the Church, and we are become a laughing-stock to Jews and Greeks, seeing 
that the Church is divided into a thousand parties. But if a proper rebuke had at first been 
given to those who attempted slight perversions, and a deflection from the divine oracles, 
such a pestilence would not have been generated, nor such a storm have seized upon the 
Churches. You will now understand why Paul calls circumcision a subversion of the Gospel. 
There are many among us now, who fast on the same day as the Jews, and keep the sabbaths 
in the same manner; and we endure it nobly or rather ignobly and basely. And why do I 
speak of Jews seeing that many Gentile customs are observed by some among us; omens, 
auguries, presages, distinctions of days, a curious attention to the circumstances of their 
children’s birth, and, as soon as they are born, tablets with impious inscriptions are placed 
upon their unhappy heads, thereby teaching them from the first to lay aside virtuous en- 
deavors, and drawing part of them at least under the false domination of fate. But if Christ 
in no way profits those that are circumcised, what shall faith hereafter avail to the salvation 


22 [There is an eloquent passage on this same subject of foolish and sinful superstitions among Christians in 
Homily xii. on Ephesians, near the end. — G.A.] 


20 


Galatians 1:1—3 


of those who have introduced such corruptions? Although circumcision was given by God, 
yet Paul used every effort to abolish it, because its unseasonable observance was injurious 
to the Gospel. If then he was so earnest against the undue maintenance of Jewish customs, 
what excuse can we have for not abrogating Gentile ones? Hence our affairs are now in 
confusion and trouble, hence have our learners being filled with pride, reversed the order 
of things throwing every thing into confusion, and their discipline having been neglected 
by us their governors, they spurn our reproof however gentle. And yet if their superiors 
were even more worthless and full of numberless evils, it would not be right for the disciple 
to disobey. It is said of the Jewish doctors, that as they sat in Moses’ seat, their disciples were 
bound to obey them, though their works were so evil, that the Lord forbad His disciples to 
imitate them. What excuse therefore is there for those who insult and trample on men, rulers 
of the Church, and living, by the grace of God, holy lives? If it be unlawful for us to judge 
each other, much more is it to judge our teachers. 

Ver. 8, 9. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any Gospel 
other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.” 

See the Apostle’s wisdom; to obviate the objection that he was prompted by vainglory 
to applaud his own doctrine, he includes himself also in his anathema; and as they betook 
themselves to authority, that of James and John, he mentions angels also saying, “Tell me 
not of James and John; if one of the most exalted angels of heaven corrupt the Gospel, let 
him be anathema.” The phrase “of heaven” is purposely added, because priests are also called 
angels. “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his 
mouth: for he is the messenger [angel] of the Lord of hosts.” (Mai. ii. 7.) Lest therefore it 
should be thought that priests are here meant, by the term “angels,” he points out the celes- 
tial intelligences by the addition, “from heaven.” And he says not, if they preach a contrary 
Gospel, or subvert the whole of the true one, let them be anathema; but, if they even slightly 
vary, or incidentally disturb, my doctrine. “As we have said before, so say I now again.” That 
his words might not seem to be spoken in anger, or with exaggeration, or with recklessness 
he now repeats them. Sentiments may perhaps change, when an expression has been called 
forth by anger, but to repeat it a second time proves that it is spoken advisedly, and was 
previously approved by the judgment. When Abraham was requested to send Lazarus, he 
replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them: if they hear them not, 
neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.” (Luke xvi. 31.) And Christ intro- 
duces Abraham thus speaking, to show that He would have the Scriptures accounted more 


23 [Though this view of Chrysostom, that the TtpoeiptjKapev refers to what immediately precedes is held by 
many others, it is not tenable for two reasons; 1. St. Paul would have used the singular Ttpo£tpr|Ka, as he does in 
Aiyto, immediately following. 2 The Ttpo in composition, and the kou apri, both, mark some greater distinction 
of time than this would allow. — G.A.] 


21 


Galatians 1:1—3 


worthy of credence, even than one raised from the dead: Paul too, (and when I say Paul, I 
mean Christ, who directed his mind,) prefers them before an angel come down from heaven. 
And justly, for the angels, though mighty, are but servants and ministers, but the Scriptures 
were all written and sent, not by servants, but by God the Lord of all. He says, if “any man” 
preach another Gospel to you than that which we have preached, — not “if this or that man:” 
and herein appears his prudence, and care of giving offence, for what needed there still any 
mention of names, when he had used such extensive terms as to embrace all, both in heaven 
and earth? In that he anathemized evangelists and angels, he included every dignity, and 
his mention of himself included every intimacy and affinity. “Tell me not,” he exclaims, 
“that my fellow-apostles and colleagues have so spoken; I spare not myself if I preach such 
doctrine.” And he says this not as condemning the Apostles for swerving from the message 
they were commissioned to deliver; far from it, (for he says, whether we or they thus preach;) 
but to show, that in the discussion of truth the dignity of persons is not to be considered. 

Ver. 10. “For 24 am I now persuading men: or God?” or am I seeking to please men? if 
I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” 

Granting, says he, that I might deceive you by these doctrines, could I deceive God, who 
knows my yet unuttered thoughts, and to please whom is my unceasing endeavor? See here 
the Apostolical spirit, the Evangelical loftiness! So too he writes to the Corinthians, “For we 
are not again commending ourselves unto you, but speak as giving you occasion of glorying;” 
(2 Cor. v. 12.) and again, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, 
or of man’s judgment.” (1 Cor. iv. 3.) For since he is compelled to justify himself to his dis- 
ciples, being their teacher, he submits to it; but he is grieved at it, not on account of chagrin, 
far from it, but on account of the instability of the minds of those led away and on account 
of not being fully trusted by them. Wherefore Paul now speaks, as it were, thus: — Is my ac- 
count to be rendered to you? Shall I be judged by men? My account is to God, and all my 
acts are with a view to that inquisition, nor am I so miserably abandoned as to pervert my 
doctrine, seeing that I am to justify what I preach before the Lord of all. 

He thus expressed himself, as much with a view of withstanding their opinions, as in 
self-defence; for it becomes disciples to obey, not to judge, their master. But now, says he, 
that the order is reversed, and ye sit as judges, know that I am but little concerned to defend 
myself before you; all, I do for God’s sake, and in order that I may answer to Him concerning 
my doctrine. He who wishes to persuade men, is led to act tortuously and insincerely, and 
to employ deceit and falsehood, in order to engage the assent of his hearers. But he who 
addresses himself to God, and desires to please Him, needs simplicity and purity of mind, 
for God cannot be deceived. Whence it is plain that I have thus written to you not from the 


24 [“I speak thus strongly, for my language shall not be misconstrued. Will any one now say that careless of 

winning the favor of God, I seek to ingratiate myself with men?” Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


22 


Galatians 1:1—3 


love of rule, or to gain disciples, or to receive honor at your hands. My endeavor has been 
to please God, not man. Were it otherwise, I should still consort with the Jews, still perse- 
cute the Church, I who have cast off my country altogether, my companions, my friends, 
my kindred, and all my reputation, and taken in exchange for these, persecution, enmity, 
strife, and daily-impending death, have given a signal proof that I speak not from love of 
human applause. This he says, being about to narrate his former life, and sudden conversion, 
and to demonstrate clearly that it was sincere. And that they might not be elevated by a 
notion that he did this byway of self- vindication to them, he premises, “For do I now per- 
suade men?” He well knew how, on a fitting occasion, to correct his disciples, in a grave and 
lofty tone: assuredly he had other sources whence to demonstrate the truth of his preach- 
ing, — by signs and miracles, by dangers, by prisons, by daily deaths, by hunger and thirst, 
by nakedness, and the like. Now however that he is speaking not of false apostles, but of the 
true, who had shared these very perils, he employs another method. For when his discourse 
was pointed towards false apostles, he institutes a comparison by bringing forward his en- 
durance of danger, saying, “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as one beside himself) I 
more; in labors more abundantly, in prisons more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in 
deaths oft.” (2 Cor. xi. 23.) But now he speaks of his former manner of life and says, 

Ver. 11, 12. “For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the Gospel which was 
preached by me that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I 
taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ.” 

You observe how sedulously he affirms that he was taught of Christ, who Himself, 
without human intervention, condescended to reveal to him all knowledge. And if he were 
asked for his proof that God Himself thus immediately revealed to him these ineffable 
mysteries, he would instance his former manner of life, arguing that his conversion would 
not have been so sudden, had it not been by Divine revelation. For when men have been 
vehement and eager on the contrary side, their conviction, if it is effected by human means, 
requires much time and ingenuity. It is clear therefore that he, whose conversion is sudden, 
and who has been sobered in the very height of his madness, must have been vouchsafed a 
Divine revelation and teaching, and so have at once arrived at complete sanity. On this ac- 
count he is obliged to relate his former life, and to call the Galatians as witnesses of past 
events. That the Only-Begotten Son of God had Himself from heaven vouchsafed to call 
me, says he, you who were not present, could not know, but that I was a persecutor you do 


25 “xpiorou 5ouAo<; should not be taken in an historical sense, as Chrysostom. This would be feeble and 
lacking in depth of thought. No, it is to be taken in its ethical character.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

26 [The reading yap (Rev. Ver. W. H.) gives a reason for what is implied in the sentence preceding, while 5e, 
an inferior reading, means ‘but,’ (now to enter more particularly on the subject of my letter) “I make known to 
you.” — So Meyer. — G.A.] 


23 


Galatians 1:1—3 


know. For my violence even reached your ears, and the distance between Palestine and 
Galatia is so great, that the report would not have extended thither, had not my acts exceeded 
all bounds and endurance. Wherefore he says, 

Ver. 13. “For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews’ religion, 
how that beyond measure I persecuted the Church of God, and made havoc of it.” 

Observe how he shrinks not from aggravating each point; not saying simply that he 
“persecuted” but “beyond measure,” and not only “persecuted” but “made havoc of it,” 
which signifies an attempt to extinguish, to pull down, to destroy, to annihilate, the Church. 

Ver. 14. “And I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of mine own age among 
my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” 

To obviate the notion that his persecution arose from passion, vain-glory, or enmity, 
he shows that he was actuated by zeal, not indeed “according to knowledge,” (Rom. x. 2.) 
still by a zealous admiration of the traditions of his fathers. This is his argument; — if my 
efforts against the Church sprung not from human motives, but from religious though 
mistaken zeal, why should I be actuated by vain-glory, now that I am contending for the 
Church, and have embraced the truth? If it was not this motive, but a godly zeal, which 
possessed me when I was in error, much more now that I have come to know the truth, 
ought I to be free from such a suspicion. As soon as I passed over to the doctrines of the 
Church I shook off my Jewish prejudices, manifesting on that side a zeal still more ardent; 
and this is a proof that my conversion is sincere, and that the zeal which possesses me is 
from above. What other inducement could I have to make such a change, and to barter 
honor for contempt, repose for peril, security for distress? none surely but the love of truth. 

Ver. 15, 16. “But when it was the good pleasure of God, Who separated me, even from 
my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might 
preach Him among the Gentiles, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” 

Here his object is to show, that it was by some secret providence that he was left for a 
time to himself. For if he was set apart from his mother’s womb to be an Apostle and to be 
called to that ministry, yet was not actually called till that juncture, which summons he in- 
stantly obeyed, it is evident that God had some hidden reason for this delay. What this 
purpose was, you are perhaps eager to learn from me, and primarily, why he was not called 
with the twelve. But in order not to protract this discourse by digressing from that which is 


27 [“He begins here the historical proof that he was indebted for his gospel to the revelation he had men- 
tioned.” — Meyer. “My early education was such that no human agency could have brought the change (from Judaism 
to Christianity). It required a direct interposition from God.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

28 [Chrysostom’s interpretation of this passage is hardly sustained by the context. It is not a proof of his sin- 
cerity that he is adducing; he is continuing and completing the statement that his former manner of life was 
proof that he could not have received the Gospel from man. — G.A.] 


24 


Galatians 1:1—3 


more pressing, I must entreat your love not to require all things from me, but to search for 
it by yourselves, and to beg of God to reveal it to you. Moreover I partly discussed this subject 
when I discoursed before you on the change of his name from Saul to Paul; which, if you 
have forgotten, you will fully gather from a perusal of that volume. At present let us pursue 
the thread of our discourse, and consider the proof he now adduces that no natural event 
had befallen him, — that God Himself had providentially ordered the occurrence. 

“And called me through His grace.” 

God indeed says that He called him on account of his excellent capacity, as He said to 
Ananias, “for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings,” 
(Acts ix. 15.) that is to say, capable of service, and the accomplishment of great deeds. God 
gives this as the reason for his call. But he himself everywhere ascribes it to grace, and to 
God’s inexpressible mercy, as in the words, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy,” not 
that I was sufficient or even serviceable, but “that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show 
forth all His long-suffering, for an ensample of them which should hereafter believe on Him 
unto eternal life.” (1 Tim. i. 16.) Behold his overflowing humility; I obtained mercy, says 
he, that no one might despair, when the worst of men had shared His bounty. For this is 
the force of the words, “that He might show forth all His long-suffering for an ensample of 
them which should hereafter believe on Him.” 

To reveal His Son in me. ’ 

Christ says in another place, “No one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who 
the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him.” (Luke x. 
22.) You observe that the Father reveals the Son, and the Son the Father; so it is as to Their 
glory, the Son glorifies the Father, and the Father the Son; “glorify Thy Son, that the Son 
may glorify Thee,” and, “as I have glorified Thee.” (John xvii. 1, 4.) But why does he say, “to 
reveal His Son in me,” and not “to me?” it is to signify, that he had not only been instructed 
in the faith by words, but that he was richly endowed with the Spirit; — that the revelation 

3 1 

had enlightened his whole soul, and that he had Christ speaking within him. 

“That I might preach Him among the Gentiles.” For not only his faith, but his election 
to the Apostolic office proceeded from God. The object, says he, of His thus specially revealing 
Himself to me, was not only that I might myself behold Him, but that I might also manifest 
Him to others. And he says not merely, “others,” but, “that I might preach Him among the 
Gentiles,” thus touching beforehand on that great ground of his defence which lay in the 



29 [Vid. Horn, de Mut. Notn. t. iii. p. 98. Ed. Ben. — G.A.] 

30 [“In his pre-Christian blindness Paul had known Christ Kara aapKa, 2 Cor. v. 16.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

31 [“Ev epol means ‘in my mind,’ ‘in my consciousness.’ 2 Cor. iv. 6,” in opposition to Lightfoot who says, 
“‘In me’ means, as the context shows, not a revelation made inwardly to himself, but through him to oth- 
ers.” — G.A.] 


25 


Galatians 1:1—3 


respective characters of the disciples; for it was necessary to preach differently to the Jews 
and to the heathen. 

“Immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” 

Here he alludes to the Apostles, naming them after their physical nature; however, that 

O'! 

he may have meant to include all mankind, I shall not deny. 

Ver. 17. “Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before me.” 

These words weighed by themselves seem to breath an arrogant spirit, and to be foreign 
to the Apostolic temper. For to give one’s suffrage for one’s self, and to admit no man to 
share one’s counsel, is a sign of folly. It is said, “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? 
there is more hope of a fool than of him;” (Prov. xxvi. 12.) and, “Woe unto them that are 
wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isa. v. 21.) and Paul himself in 
another place, “Be not wise in your own conceits.” (Rom. xii. 16.) Surely one who had been 
thus taught, and had thus admonished others, would not fall into such an error, even were 
he an ordinary man; much less then Paul himself. Nevertheless, as I said, this expression 
nakedly considered may easily prove a snare and offence to many hearers. But if the cause 
of it is subjoined, all will applaud and admire the speaker. This then let us do; for it is not 
the right course to weigh the mere words, nor examine the language by itself, as many errors 
will be the consequence, but to attend to the intention of the writer. And unless we pursue 
this method in our own discourses, and examine into the mind of the speaker, we shall make 
many enemies, and every thing will be thrown into disorder. Nor is this confined to words, 
but the same result will follow, if this rule is not observed in actions. For surgeons often cut 
and break certain of the bones; so do robbers; yet it would be miserable indeed not to be 
able to distinguish one from the other. Again, homicides and martyrs, when tortured, suffer 
the same pangs, yet is the difference between them great. Unless we attend to this rule, we 
shall not be able to discriminate in these matters; but shall call Elijah and Samuel and Phineas 
homicides, and Abraham a son-slayer; that is, if we go about to scrutinize the bare facts, 
without taking into account the intention of the agents. Let us then inquire into the intention 
of Paul in thus writing, let us consider his scope, and general deportment towards the 
Apostles, that we may arrive at his present meaning. Neither formerly, nor in this case, did 
he speak with a view of disparaging the Apostles or of extolling himself, (how so? when he 
included himself under his anathema?) but always in order to guard the integrity of the 
Gospel. Since the troublers of the Church said that they ought to obey the Apostles who 
suffered these observances, and not Paul who forbade them, and hence the Judaizing heresy 
had gradually crept in, it was necessary for him manfully to resist them, from a desire of 
repressing the arrogance of those who improperly exalted themselves, and not of speaking 


32 [“Flesh and blood,” is twice used elsewhere (Mat. 16: 17 and Eph. 6: 12.) to denote “weak human nature,” 
“feeble man.” — G.A.] 


26 


Galatians 1:1—3 


ill of the Apostles. And therefore he says, “I conferred not with flesh and blood;” for it would 
have been extremely absurd for one who had been taught by God, afterwards to refer himself 
to men. For it is right that he who learns from men should in turn take men as his counsellors. 
But he to whom that divine and blessed voice had been vouchsafed, and who had been fully 
instructed by Him that possesses all the treasures of wisdom, wherefore should he afterwards 
confer with men? It were meet that he should teach, not be taught by them. Therefore he 
thus spoke, not arrogantly, but to exhibit the dignity of his own commission. “Neither went 
I up,” says he, “to Jerusalem to them which were Apostles before me.” Because they were 
continually repeating that the Apostles were before him, and were called before him, he 
says, “I went not up to them.” Had it been needful for him to communicate with them, He, 
who revealed to him his commission, would have given him this injunction. Is it true, 
however, that he did not go up thither? nay, he went up, and not merely so, but in order 
to learn somewhat of them. When a question arose on our present subject in the city of 
Antioch, in the Church which had from the beginning shown so much zeal, and it was dis- 
cussed whether the Gentile believers ought to be circumcised, or were under no necessity 
to undergo the rite, this very Paul himself and Silas 34 went up. How is it then that he says, 
I went not up, nor conferred? First, because he went not up of his own accord, but was sent 
by others; next, because he came not to learn, but to bring others over. For he was from the 
first of that opinion, which the Apostles subsequently ratified, that circumcision was unne- 
cessary. But when these persons deemed him unworthy of credit and applied to those at 
Jerusalem he went up not to be farther instructed, but to convince the gain-sayers that those 
at Jerusalem agreed with him. Thus he perceived from the first the fitting line of conduct, 
and needed no teacher, but, primarily and before any discussion, maintained without 
wavering what the Apostles, after much discussion, (Acts xv. 2, 7.) subsequently ratified. 
This Luke shows by his own account, that Paul argued much at length with them on this 
subject before he went to Jerusalem. But since the brethren chose to be informed on this 
subject, by those at Jerusalem, he went up on their own account, not on his own. And his 
expression, “I went not up,” signifies that he neither went at the outset of his teaching, nor 
for the purpose of being instructed. Both are implied by the phrase, “Immediately I conferred 
not with flesh and blood.” He says not, “I conferred,” merely, but, “immediately;” and his 
subsequent journey was not to gain any additional instruction. 

Ver. 17. “But I went away into Arabia.” 


33 [Paul here simply means he did not go to Jerusalem before he began preaching. — G.A.] 

34 Of those who were sent with St. Paul from Antioch to Jerusalem, Barnabas is the only one named in Acts 
xv. 2, and it would rather seem from Ver. 22, that Silas was then at Jerusalem, and did not accompany St. Paul 
till his return from thence. 


27 


Galatians 1:1—3 


Behold a fervent soul! he longed to occupy regions not yet tilled, but lying in a wild 
state. Had he remained with the Apostles, as he had nothing to learn, his preaching would 
have been straitened, for it behooved them to spread the word everywhere. Thus this blessed 

or 

man, fervent in spirit, straightway undertook to teach wild barbarians, choosing a life full 
of battle and labor. Having said, “I went into Arabia,” he adds, “and again I returned unto 
Damascus.” Here observe his humility; he speaks not of his successes, nor of whom or of 
how many he instructed. Y et such was his zeal immediately on his baptism, that he confoun- 
ded the Jews, and so exasperated them, that they and the Greeks lay in wait for him with a 
view to kill him. This would not have been the case, had he not greatly added to the numbers 
of the faithful; since they were vanquished in doctrine, they had recourse to murder, which 
was a manifest sign of Paul’s superiority. But Christ suffered him not to be put to death, 
preserving him for his mission. Of these successes, however, he says nothing, and so in all 
his discourses, his motive is not ambition, nor to be honored more highly than the Apostles, 
nor because he is mortified at being lightly esteemed, but it is a fear lest any detriment should 
accrue to his mission. For he calls himself, “one born out of due time,” and, “the first of 
sinners,” and “the last of the Apostles,” and, “not meet to be called an Apostle.” And this 
he said, who had labored more than all of them; which is real humility; for he who, conscious 
of no excellence, speaks humbly of himself, is candid but not humble; but to say so after 
such trophies, is to be practised in self-control. 

Ver. 17. “And again I returned unto Damascus.” 

But what great things did he not probably achieve in this city? for he tells us that the 
governor under Aretas the king set guards about the whole of it, hoping to entrap this blessed 
man. Which is a proof of the strongest kind that he was violently persecuted by the Jews. 
Here, however, he says nothing of this, but mentioning his arrival and departure is silent 
concerning the events which there occurred, nor would he have mentioned them in the 
place I have referred to, (2 Cor. xi. 32.) had not circumstances required their narration. 

o /r 

Ver. 18. “Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas.” 

What can be more lowly than such a soul? After such successes, wanting nothing of 
Peter, not even his assent, but being of equal dignity with him, (for at present I will say no 
more,) he comes to him as his elder and superior. And the only object of this journey was 


35 [“This journey is to be looked upon not as having for its object a quiet preparation, but as a first experiment 
of extraneous ministry.” — Meyer. Farrar, Life and Work of Paul. Ch. xi. takes the opposite view and says, “No 
one, I think, who reads this passage attentively can deny that it gives the impression of an intentional retirement 
from human intercourse.” So also Schaff, who says it was a sort of substitute for the three years intercourse with 
Jesus enjoyed by the other Apostles. Ap. Ch. 236. — G.A.] 

36 [First visit to Jerusalem, Acts ix. 26. For a reconciliation of the two accounts of this visit see Handy Com. 
on Gal. Excursus A (by Sanday). — G.A.] 


28 


Galatians 1:1—3 


to visit Peter; thus he pays due respect to the Apostles, and esteems himself not only not 
their better but not their equal. Which is plain from this journey, for Paul was induced to 
visit Peter by the same feeling from which many of our brethren sojourn with holy men: or 
rather by a humbler feeling for they do so for their own benefit, but this blessed man, not 
for his own instruction or correction, but merely for the sake of beholding and honoring 
Peter by his presence. He says, “to visit Peter;” he does not say to see, (ISeTv,) but to visit 
and survey, (icrcoprjaai,) a word which those, who seek to become acquainted with great 
and splendid cities, apply to themselves. Worthy of such trouble did he consider the very 
sight of Peter; and this appears from the Acts of the Apostles also. (Acts xxi. 17, 18etc.) For 
on his arrival at Jerusalem, on another occasion, after having converted many Gentiles, and, 
with labors far surpassing the rest, reformed and brought to Christ Pamphylia, Lycaonia, 
Cilicia, and all nations in that quarter of the world, he first addresses himself with great 
humility to James, as to his elder and superior. Next he submits to his counsel, and that 
counsel contrary to this Epistle. “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there are among 
the Jews of them which have believed; therefore shave thy head, and purify thyself.” (Acts 
xxi. 20 f.) Accordingly he shaved his head, and observed all the Jewish ceremonies; for where 
the Gospel was not affected, he was the humblest of all men. But where by such humility he 
saw any injured, he gave up that undue exercise of it, for that was no longer to be humble 
but to outrage and destroy the disciples. 

Ver. 18. “And tarried with him fifteen days.” 

To take a journey on account of him was a mark of respect; but to remain so many days, 

rr-j 

of friendship and the most earnest affection. 

o o 

Ver. 19. “But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James, the Lord’s brother.” 

See what great friends he was with Peter especially; on his account he left his home, and 
with him he tarried. This I frequently repeat, and desire you to remember, that no one, when 
he hears what this Apostle seems to have spoken against Peter, may conceive a suspicion of 
him. He premises this, that when he says, “I resisted Peter,” no one may suppose that these 
words imply enmity and contention; for he honored and loved his person more than all and 
took this journey for his sake only, not for any of the others. “But other of the Apostles saw 
I none, save James.” “I saw him merely, I did not learn from him,” he means. But observe 
how honorably he mentions him, he says not “James” merely, but adds this illustrious title, 
so free is he from all envy. Had he only wished to point out whom he meant, he might have 


37 [And yet it was not long enough to have allowed his receiving his doctrine and Gospel from Peter. Besides 
he had already been preaching three years. — G.A.] 

38 “Thus this James is distinguished from the circle of the twelve (1 Cor. xv. 8.) to which Peter belonged but 
included in the number of Apostles in the wider sense, which explains the merely supplementary mention of 
this Apostle.” — Meyer. 


29 


Galatians 1:1—3 


shown this by another appellation, and called him the son of Cleophas, as the Evangelist 

on 

does. But as he considered that he had a share in the august titles of the Apostles, he exalts 
himself by honoring James; and this he does by calling him “the Lord’s brother,” although 
he was not by birth His brother, but only so reputed. Yet this did not deter him from giving 
the title; and in many other instances he displays towards all the Apostles that noble dispos- 
ition, which beseemed him. 

Ver. 20. “Now touching the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I he 
not.” 

Observe throughout the transparent humility of this holy soul; his earnestness in his 
own vindication is as great as if he had to render an account of his deeds, and was pleading 
for his life in a court of justice. 

Ver. 21. “Then I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.” 40 

After his interview with Peter, he resumes his preaching and the task which lay before 
him, avoiding Judaea, both because of his mission being to the Gentiles, and of his unwill- 
ingness to “build upon another man’s foundation.” Wherefore there was not even a chance 
meeting, as appears from what follows. 

Ver. 22, 23. “And I was still unknown by face unto the Churches of Judaea; but they only 
heard say, he that once persecuted us now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc.” 

What modesty in thus again mentioning the facts of his persecuting and laying waste 
the Church, and in thus making infamous his former life, while he passes over the illustrious 
deeds he was about to achieve! He might have told, had he wished it, all his successes, but 
he mentions none of these and stepping with one word over a vast expanse, he says merely, 
“I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;” and, “they had heard, that he, which once 
persecuted us, now preacheth the faith of which he once made havoc.” The purpose of the 
words, “I was unknown to the Churches of Judaea,” is to show, that so far from preaching 
to them the necessity of circumcision, he was not known to them even by sight. 

Ver. 24. “And they glorified God in me.” See here again how accurately he observes the 
rule of his humility; he says not, they admired me, they applauded or were astonished at 
me, but ascribes all to Divine grace by the words, “they glorified God in me.” 


39 [Compare John xix. 25 with Matt, xxvii. 56. But see Lightfoot’s learned and exhaustive essay on “The 
Brethren of the Lord,” Com. on Gal. pp. 88-127, and Schaff, Church History, I, 272-275. — G.A.] 

40 [Compare Acts ix. 30, where Luke says the brethren took Paul to Caesarea, and thence despatched him to 
Tarsus (in Cilicia). — G.A.] 


30 


Galatians 2:1,2 


Chapter II. 

Verse 1-2 

“Then after the space of fourteen years, 41 1 went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking 

Titus also with me. And I went up by revelation.” 

His first journey was owing to his desire to visit Peter, his second, he says, arose from 
a revelation of the Spirit. 

Ver. 2. “And I laid before them the Gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but 
privately before them who were of repute, lest by any means I should be running or had run 
in vain.” 

What is this, O Paul! thou who neither at the beginning nor after three years wouldest 
confer with the Apostles, dost thou now confer with them, after fourteen years are past, lest 
thou shouldest be running in vain? Better would it have been to have done so at first, than 
after so many years; and why didst thou run at all, if not satisfied that thou wert not running 
in vain? Who would be so senseless as to preach for so many years, without being sure that 
his preaching was true? And what enhances the difficulty is, that he says he went up by 
revelation; this difficulty, however, will afford a solution of the former one. Had he gone up 
of his own accord, it would have been most unreasonable, nor is it possible that this blessed 
soul should have fallen into such folly; for it is himself who says, “I therefore so run, as not 
uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air.” (1 Cor. ix. 26.) If therefore he runs, “not un- 
certainly,” how can he say, “lest I should be running, or had run, in vain?” It is evident from 
this, that if he had gone up without a revelation, he would have committed an act of folly. 
But the actual case involved no such absurdity; who shall dare to still harbor this suspicion, 
when it was the grace of the Spirit which drew him? On this account he added the words 
“by revelation,” lest, before the question was solved, he should be condemned of folly; well 


41 [“The Acts mention five such journeys after his conversion: (l.)-ix. 23 (Comp. Gal. i. 18.) (2.)-xi. 30; xii. 
25. (3.)-xv. 2, the journey to the Apostolic Council, a.d. 50 or 51. (4.)-xviii. 22, the journey in 54. (5.)-xxi. 15 
(Comp. Ro. 15: 25 ff.) the last journey when he was made a pardoner and sent to Caesarea in 58. The first of 
these journeys cannot be meant on account of Gal. i. 18. The second is excluded by the chronological date of 
Gal. ii. 1, for as it took place during the famine of Palestine in the year of Herod’s death, a.d. 44, it would put 
the commission of Paul back to the year 30, which is much too early. There is no good reason why Paul should 
have mentioned this second journey. The fifth journey cannot be meant for it took place after the composition 
of Epistle to Galatians and after dispersion of Apostles. Nor can we think of the fourth journey which was 
transient, nor was Barnabas with him on that journey, Acts xv. 39. So the journey here mentioned is the same 
as that of Acts xv. 2. This took place 50 or 51, i.e., fourteen years after his conversion, 37.” — Schaff in Pop. 
Com. — G.A.] 


31 


Galatians 2:1,2 


knowing that it was no human occurrence, but a deep Divine Providence concerning the 
present and future. What then is the reason of this journey of his? As when he went up before 
from Antioch to Jerusalem, it was not for his own sake, (for he saw clearly that his duty was 
simply to obey the doctrines of Christ,) but from a desire to reconcile the contentious; so 
now his object was the complete satisfaction of his accusers, not any wish of his own to learn 
that he had not run in vain. They conceived that Peter and John, of whom they thought 
more highly than of Paul, differed from him in that he omitted circumcision in his preaching, 
while the former allowed it, and they believed that in this he acted unlawfully, and was 
running in vain. I went up, says he, and communicated unto them my Gospel, not that I 
might learn aught myself, (as appears more clearly further on,) but that I might convince 
these suspicious persons that I do not run in vain. The Spirit forseeing this contention had 
provided that he should go up and make this communication. 

Wherefore he says that he went up by revelation, 42 and, taking Barnabas and Titus as 
witnesses of his preaching, communicated to them the Gospel which he preached to the 
Gentiles, that is, with the omission of circumcision. “But privately before them who were 
of repute.” What means “privately?” Rather, he who wishes to reform doctrines held in 
common, proposes them, not privately, but before all in common; but Paul did this privately, 
for his object was, not to learn or reform any thing, but to cut off the grounds of those who 
would fain deceive. All at Jerusalem were offended, if the law was transgressed, or the use 
of circumcision forbidden; as James says, “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands there 
are among the Jews of them which have believed; and they are informed of thee, that thou 
teachest to forsake the law.” (Acts xxi. 20, et seq.) Since then they were offended he did not 
condescend to come forward publicly and declare what his preaching was, but he conferred 
privately with those who were of reputation before Barnabas and Titus, that they might 
credibly testify to his accusers, 43 that the Apostles found no discrepancy in his preaching, 
but confirmed it. The expression, “those that were of repute,” (rote; Sokouctiv) does not im- 
pugn the reality of their greatness; for he says of himself, “And I also seem (5ok63) to have 
the Spirit of God,” thereby not denying the fact, but stating it modestly. And here the phrase 
implies his own assent to the common opinion. 

Ver. 3. “But not even Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, 44 was compelled to be 
circumcised.” 


42 [“In St. Luke’s narrative (Acts xv. 2.) he is said to have been sent by the Church at Antioch. The revelation 
either prompted or confirmed the decision of the Church.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

43 [That is, that Barnabas and Titus as witnesses of the proceedings might testify to the Judaizing teachers 
everywhere, &c. — G.A.] 

44 [Being “a Greek:” Lightfoot says this is a “causal” participial clause giving the “reason” why Titus was not 
circumcised; because he was a Greek and not a Jew or part Jew as Timothy was. Schaff makes it a “concessive” 
clause; although he was a Greek, that is, a heathen. Farrar in Life and Work of Paul (233-6) claims that Titus 


32 


Galatians 2:1,2 


What means, “being a Greek?” Of Greek extraction, and not circumcised; for not only 
did I so preach but Titus so acted, nor did the Apostles compel him to be circumcised. A 
plain proof this that the Apostles did not condemn Paul’s doctrine or his practice. Nay more, 
even the urgent representations of the adverse party, who were aware of these facts, did not 
oblige the Apostles to enjoin circumcision, as appears by his own words, — 

Ver. 4. “And that because of the false brethren, privily brought in.” 

Here arises a very important question, Who were these false brethren? 45 If the Apostles 
permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, why are those who enjoined it, in accordance with the 
Apostolic sentence, to be called false brethren? First; because there is a difference between 
commanding an act to be done, and allowing it after it is done. He who enjoins an act, does 
it with zeal as necessary, and of primary importance; but he who, without himself command- 
ing it, alloweth another to do it who wishes yields not from a sense of its being necessary 
but in order to subserve some purpose. We have a similar instance, in Paul’s Epistle to the 
Corinthians, in his command to husbands and wives to come together again. To which, that 
he might not be thought to be legislating for them, he subjoins, “But this I say by way of 
permission, not of commandment.” (1 Cor. vii. 5.) For this was not a judgment authoritatively 
given but an indulgence to their incontinence; as he says, “for your incontinency.” Would 
you know Paul’s sentence in this matter? hear his words, “I would that all men were even 
as I myself,” (1 Cor. vii. 7.) in continence. And so here, the Apostles made this concession, 
not as vindicating the law, but as condescending to the infirmities of Judaism. Had they 
been vindicating the law, they would not have preached to the Jews in one way, and to the 
Gentiles in another. Had the observance been necessary for unbelievers, then indeed it would 
plainly have likewise been necessary for all the faithful. But by their decision not to harass 
the Gentiles on this point, they showed that they permitted it by way of condescension to 
the Jews. Whereas the purpose of the false brethren was to cast them out of grace, and reduce 
them under the yoke of slavery again. This is the first difference, and a very wide one. The 
second is, that the Apostles so acted in Judaea, where the Law was in force, but the false 
brethren, every where, for all the Galatians were influenced by them. Whence it appears 
that their intention was, not to build up, but entirely to pull down the Gospel, and that the 
thing was permitted by the Apostles on one ground and zealously practiced by the false 
brethren on another. 

Ver. 4. “Who came in privily to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ Jesus, that 
they might bring us into bondage.” 


was circumcised but not compelled to be. This however cannot be held in view of the context and the position 
of the words in the sentence. — G.A.] 

45 [“These were formerly Pharisees (Actsxv. 5.) and were still so in spirit although they professed Christianity 
and were baptized.” Schaff in Pop. Com. — G.A.] 


33 


Galatians 2:1,2 


He points out their hostility by calling them spies; for the sole object of a spy is to obtain 
for himself facilities of devastation and destruction, by becoming acquainted with his ad- 
versary’s position. And this is what those did, who wished to bring the disciples back to 
their old servitude. Hence too appears how very contrary their purpose was to that of the 
Apostles; the latter made concessions that they might gradually extricate them from their 
servitude, but the former plotted to subject them to one more severe. Therefore they looked 
round and observed accurately and made themselves busybodies to find out who were un- 
circumcised; as Paul says, “they came in privily to spy out our liberty,” thus pointing out 
their machinations not only by the term “spies,” but by this expression of a furtive entrance 
and creeping in. 

Ver. 5. “To whom we gave place in the way of subjection, no, not for an hour.” 46 
Observe the force and emphasis of the phrase; he says not, “by argument,” but, “by 
subjection,” for their object was not to teach good doctrine, but to subjugate and enslave 
them. Wherefore, says he, we yielded to the Apostles, but not to these. 

Ver. 5. “That the truth of the Gospel might continue with you.” 47 
That we may confirm, says he, by our deeds what we have already declared by 
words, — namely, that the “old things are passed away, behold they are become new;” and 
that “if any man is in Christ he is a new creature;” (2 Cor. v. 17.) and that “if ye receive cir- 
cumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.” (Gal. v. 2.) In maintaining this truth we gave 
place not even for an hour. Then, as he was directly met by the conduct of the Apostles, and 
the reason of their enjoining the rite would probably be asked, he proceeds to solve this 
objection. This he does with great skill, for he does not give the actual reason, which was, 
that the Apostles acted by way of condescension and in the use of a scheme, (obcovopia) as 
it were; for otherwise his hearers would have been injured. For those, who are to derive be- 
nefit from a scheme should be unacquainted with the design of it; all will be undone, if this 
appears. Wherefore, he who is to take part in it should know the drift of it; those who are 
to benefit by it should not. To make my meaning more evident, I will take an example from 
our present subject. The blessed Paul himself, who meant to abrogate circumcision, when 
he was about to send Timothy to teach the Jews, first circumcised him and so sent him. This 
he did, that his hearers might the more readily receive him; he began by circumcising, that 
in the end he might abolish it. But this reason he imparted to Timothy only, and told it not 
to the disciples. Had they known that the very purpose of his circumcision was the abolition 


46 [“Had we consented to the suggestion to circumcise Titus, we should thereby have yielded to the false 
brethren standing in the background, who declared the circumcision of Gentile Christians to be necessary (Acts 
xv. 5.); but this did not at all take place.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

47 [“In order that by our conduct the principle of Christian freedom should not be shaken and ye should not 
be induced to deviate from the truth of the Gospel by mixing it up with Mosaism.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


34 


Galatians 2:1,2 


of the rite, they would never have listened to his preaching, and the whole benefit would 
have been lost. But now their ignorance was of the greatest use to them, for their idea that 
his conduct proceeded from a regard to the Law, led them to receive both him and his doc- 
trine with kindness and courtesy, and having gradually received him, and become instructed, 
they abandoned their old customs. Now this would not have happened had they known his 
reasons from the first; for they would have turned away from him, and being turned away 
would not have given him a hearing, and not hearing, would have continued in their former 
error. To prevent this, he did not disclose his reasons; here too he does not explain the oc- 
casion of the scheme, (oiKOVopfa,) but shapes his discourse differently; thus: 

Ver. 6. “But from those who were reputed to be somewhat (whatsoever they were, it 
maketh no matter to me, God accepteth no man’s person.)” 

Here he not only does not defend the Apostles, but even presses hard upon those holy 
men, for the benefit of the weak. His meaning is this: although they permit circumcision, 
they shall render an account to God, for God will not accept their persons, because they are 
great and in station. But he does not speak so plainly, but with caution. He says not, if they 
vitiate their doctrine, and swerve from the appointed rule of their preaching, they shall be 
judged with the utmost rigor, and suffer punishment; but he alludes to them more reverently, 
in the words, “of those who were reputed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were.” He says 
not, “whatsoever they ‘are,’” but “were,” showing that they too had thenceforth 49 ceased so 
to preach, the doctrine having extended itself universally. The phrase, “whatsoever they 
were,” implies, that if they so preached they should render account, for they had to justify 
themselves before God, not before men. This he said, not as doubtful or ignorant of the 
rectitude of their procedure, but (as I said before) from a sense of the expediency of so 
forming his discourse. Then, that he may not seem to take the opposite side and to accuse 
them, and so create a suspicion of their disagreement, he straightway subjoins this correction: 
“for those who were reputed to be somewhat, in conference imparted nothing to me.” This 
is his meaning; What you may say, I know not; this I know well, that the Apostles did not 
oppose me, but our sentiments conspired and accorded. This appears from his expression, 
“they gave me the right hand of fellowship;” but he does not say this at present, but only 
that they neither informed or corrected him on any point, nor added to his knowledge. 


48 [Lightfoot says, “The expression is depreciatory here, not indeed of the twelve themselves but of the extra- 
vagant and exclusive claims set up for them by the Judaizers.” So also Dr. Schaff. “The addition of n rival and 
onoioibetrays a certain irritation in reference to the opponents who would not concede Paul an estimation given 
to the original Apostles.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

49 [“It is entirely in opposition to the context that Chrysostom, Theophylact and Jerome refer this to the 
earlier teaching of the Apostles, making Paul say that whether at an earlier date they had been Judaizers or not 
was to him a matter of indifference.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


35 


Galatians 2:1,2 


Ver. 6. “For those who were reputed to be somewhat, imparted nothing to me:” 

That is to say, when told of my proceedings, they added nothing, they corrected nothing, 
and though aware that the object of my journey was to communicate with them, that I had 
come by revelation of the Spirit, and that I had Titus with me who was uncircumcised, they 
neither circumcised him, nor imparted to me any additional knowledge. 

Ver. 7. “But contrariwise.” 

Some hold his meaning to be, not only that the Apostles did not instruct him, but that 
they were instructed by him. But I would not say this, for what could they, each of whom 
was himself perfectly instructed, have learnt from him? He does not therefore intend this 
by the expression, “contrariwise,” but that so far were they from blaming, that they praised 
him: for praise is the contrary of blame. Some would probably here reply: Why did not the 
Apostles, if they praised your procedure, as the proper consequence abolish circumcision? 50 
Now to assert that they did abolish it Paul considered much too bold, and inconsistent with 
his own admission. On the other hand, to admit that they had sanctioned circumcision, 
would necessarily expose him to another objection. For it would be said, if the Apostles 
praised your preaching, yet sanctioned circumcision, they were inconsistent with themselves. 
What then is the solution? is he to say that they acted thus out of condescension to Judaism? 
To say this would have shaken the very foundation of the economy. Wherefore he leaves 
the subject in suspense and uncertainty, by the words, “but of those who were reputed to 
be somewhat; it maketh no matter to me.” Which is in effect to say, I accuse not, nor traduce 
those holy men; they know what it is they have done; to God must they render their account. 
What I am desirous to prove is, that they neither reversed nor corrected my procedure, nor 
added to it as in their opinion defective, but gave it their approbation and assent; and to this 
Titus and Barnabas bear witness. Then he adds, 

Ver. 7. “When they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel of the Uncircumcision 
even as Peter with the Gospel of the Circumcision 51 ,” — 

The Circumcision and Uncircumcision; meaning, not the things themselves, but the 
nations known by these distinctions; wherefore he adds, 



50 [They did virtually abolish circumcision by the decree of the council at Jerusalem as is shown in the account 
in (Acts xv.) And the failure of the effort to have Titus circumcised shows that the account in Gal. ii. has nothing 
inconsistent with that decree. This as to Gentiles. The question did not concern Jews, who were already circum- 
cised in infancy except in cases like that of Timothy where circumcision had been neglected. His case Paul 
himself decided without any consultation with others. — G.A.] 

51 [“This passage cannot be worse misunderstood than it has been by Baur according to whom there was a 
special Gospel of the uncircumcision and a special gospel of the circumcision, one maintaining the necessity of 
circumcision, the other allowing it to drop.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


36 


Galatians 2:1,2 


Ver. 8. “For He that wrought for Peter unto the Apostleship of the Circumcision wrought 
for me also unto the Gentiles.” 

He calls the Gentiles the Uncircumcision and the Jews the Circumcision, and declares 
his own rank to be equal to that of the Apostles; and, by comparing himself with their 
Leader not with the others, he shows that the dignity of each was the same. After he had 
established the proof of their unanimity, he takes courage, and proceeds confidently in his 
argument, not stopping at the Apostles, but advances to Christ Himself, and to the grace 
which He had conferred upon him, and calls the Apostles as his witnesses, saying, 

Ver. 9. “And when they perceived the grace that was given unto me, James and Cephas 
and John, they who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of 
fellowship.” 52 

He says not when they “heard,” but when they “perceived,” that is, were assured by the 
facts themselves, “they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship.” Observe 
how he gradually proves that his doctrine was ratified both by Christ and by the Apostles. 
For grace would neither have been implanted, nor been operative in him, had not his 
preaching been approved by Christ. Where it was for the purpose of comparison with 
himself, he mentioned Peter alone; here, when he calls them as witnesses, he names the 
three together, “Cephas, James, John,” and with an encomium, “who were reputed to be 
pillars.” Here again the expression “who were reputed” does not impugn the reality of the 
fact, but adopts the estimate of others, and implies that these great and distinguished men, 
whose fame was universal, bare witness that his preaching was ratified by Christ, that they 
were practically informed and convinced by experience concerning it. “Therefore they gave 
the right hands of fellowship” to me, and not to me only, but also to Barnabas, “that we 
should go unto the Gentiles, and they unto the Circumcision.” Here indeed is exceeding 
prudence as well as an incontrovertible proof of their concord. For it shows that his and 
their doctrine was interchangeable, and that both approved the same thing, that they should 
so preach to the Jews, and he to the Gentiles. Wherefore he adds, 

r o 

Ver. 9. “That we should go unto the Gentiles and they unto the Circumcision.” 

Observe that here also he means by “the Circumcision,” not the rite, but the Jews; 
whenever he speaks of the rite, and wishes to contrast it, he adds the word “uncircumcision;” 
as when he says, “For circumcision indeed profiteth, if thou be a doer of the law; but if thou 
be a transgressor of the law, thy circumcision is become uncircumcision.” (Rom. ii. 25.) 


52 [“If there had been a real conflict in doctrine, the Apostles would not have given Paul their hand, and Paul 
would have refused them his.” — G.A.] 

53 [“There was no difference of doctrine or gospel, but only a division of territory, and how little Paul considered 
his apostolic call to the ‘Gentiles’ as excluding the conversion of the Jews from his operations may be seen from 
such passages as 1 Cor. ix. 20; Ro. i. 16; ix. 1; xi. 14.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


37 


Galatians 2:1,2 


And again, “Neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision.” But when it is 
to the Jews and not to the deed that he gives this name, and wishes to signify the nation, he 
opposes to it not uncircumcision in its literal sense, but the Gentiles. For the Jews are the 
contradistinction to the Gentiles, the Circumcision to the Uncircumcision. Thus when he 
says above, “For He that wrought for Peter into the Apostleship of the Circumcision, wrought 
for me also unto the Gentiles;” and again, “We unto the Gentiles and they unto the Circum- 
cision,” he means not the rite itself, but the Jewish nation, thus distinguishing them from 
the Gentiies. 

Ver. 10. “Only they would that we should remember the poor; which very thing I was 
also zealous to do.” 

This is his meaning: In our preaching we divided the world between us, I took the 
Gentiles and they the Jews, according to the Divine decree; but to the sustenance of the poor 
among the Jews I also contributed my share, which, had there been any dissension between 
us, they would not have accepted. Next, who were these poor persons? Many of the believing 
Jews in Palestine had been deprived of all their goods, and scattered over the world, as he 
mentions in the Epistle to the Hebrews 54 , “For ye took joyfully the spoiling of your posses- 
sions;” and in writing to the Thessalonians, (1 Thes. ii. 14.) he extols their fortitude, “Ye 
became imitators of the Churches of God which are in Judaea, . . .for ye also suffered the same 
thing of your own countrymen, even as they did of the Jews.” And he shows throughout 
that those Greeks who believed were not under persecution from the rest, such as the believ- 
ing Jews were suffering from their own kindred, for there is no nation of a temper so cruel. 
Wherefore he exercises much zeal, as appears in the Epistles to the Romans (Rom. xv. 25-27.) 
and Corinthians ( 1 Cor. xvi. 1 -3 .) that these persons should meet with much attention; and 
Paul not only collects money for them, but himself conveys it, as he says, “But now I go 
unto Jerusalem ministering unto the saints,” (Rom. xv. 25.) for they were without the neces- 
saries of life. And he here shows that in this instance having resolved to assist them, he had 
undertaken and would not abandon it. 

Having by these means declared the unanimity and harmony between the Apostles and 
himself, he is obliged to proceed to mention his debate with Peter at Antioch. 

Ver. 11, 12. “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he 
stood condemned. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: 
but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were of the 
circumcision.” 

Many, on a superficial reading of this part of the Epistle, suppose that Paul accused 
Peter of hypocrisy. But this is not so, indeed it is not, far from it; 55 we shall discover great 


54 [Hebrews x. 34. [This is interesting as showing that Chrysostom attributed the Epistle to the Hebrews to 
St. Paul, though most modern critics do not agree with him in that view. — G.A.] 

55 [aAV ouk sari raura, ouk eortv attaye. — G.A.] 


38 


Galatians 2:1,2 


wisdom, both of Paul and Peter, concealed herein for the benefit of their hearers. But first 
a word must be said about Peter’s freedom in speech, and how it was ever his way to outstrip 
the other disciples. Indeed it was upon one such occasion that he gained his name from the 
unbending and impregnable character of his faith. For when all were interrogated in common, 
he stepped before the others and answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 
(Mat. xvi. 16.) This was when the keys of heaven were committed to him. So too, he appears 
to have been the only speaker on the Mount; (Mat. xvii. 4.) and when Christ spoke of His 
crucifixion, and the others kept silence, he said, “Be it far from Thee.” (Mat. xvi. 22.) These 
words evince, if not a cautious temper, at least a fervent love; and in all instances we find 
him more vehement than the others, and rushing forward into danger. So when Christ was 
seen on the beach, and the others were pushing the boat in, he was too impatient to wait 
for its coming to land. (John xxi. 7.) And after the Resurrection, when the Jews were mur- 
derous and maddened, and sought to tear the Apostles in pieces, he first dared to come 
forward, and to declare, that the Crucified was taken up into heaven. (Acts ii. 14, 36.) It is 
a greater thing to open a closed door, and to commence an action, than to be free-spoken 
afterwards. How could he ever dissemble who had exposed his life to such a populace? He 
who when scourged and bound would not bate a jot of his courage, and this at the beginning 
of his mission, and in the heart of the chief city where there was so much danger, — how 
could he, long afterwards in Antioch, where no danger was at hand, and his character had 
received lustre from the testimony of his actions, feel any apprehension of the believing 
Jews? How could he, I say, who at the very first and in their chief city feared not the Jews 
while Jews, after a long time and in a foreign city, fear those of them who had been converted? 
Paul therefore does not speak this against Peter, but with the same meaning in which he 
said, “for they who were reputed to be somewhat, whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter 
to me.” But to remove any doubt on this point, we must unfold the reason of these expres- 
sions. 

The Apostles, as I said before, permitted circumcision at Jerusalem, an abrupt severance 
from the law not being practicable; but when they come to Antioch, they no longer continued 
this observance, but lived indiscriminately with the believing Gentiles which thing Peter 
also was at that time doing. But when some came from Jerusalem who had heard the doctrine 
he delivered there, he no longer did so fearing to perplex them, but he changed his course, 
with two objects secretly in view, both to avoid offending those Jews, and to give Paul a 
reasonable pretext for rebuking him. 56 For had he, having allowed circumcision when 

56 S. Jerome adopts the interpretation given in the text, viz. that S. Peter’s dissimulation was no sin, but intended 
as an opportunity for S. Paul to declare the freedom of the Gentiles from the Jewish Law. On the other hand, S. 
Austin considers that he acted through wrong motives, and sinned in dissembling. In this opinion he is supported 
by Tertullian, S. Cyprian, S. Cyril, of Alexandria, S. Gregory and Ambrosiaster. (Hieron. in loc, et alibi. August. 
de Bapt. contr. Donatist. ii. 2. de Mendacio 8. Tertull. de Prcescript. 23. in Marc. iv. 3. v. 3. Cyprian, Ep. ad Quint. 


39 


Galatians 2:1,2 


preaching at Jerusalem, changed his course at Antioch, his conduct would have appeared 
to those Jews to proceed from fear of Paul, and his disciples would have condemned his 
excess of pliancy. And this would have created no small offence; but in Paul, who was well 
acquainted with all the facts, his withdrawal would have raised no such suspicion, as 
knowing the intention with which he acted. Wherefore Paul rebukes, and Peter submits, 
that when the master is blamed, yet keeps silence, the disciples may more readily come over. 
Without this occurrence Paul’s exhortation would have had little effect, but the occasion 
hereby afforded of delivering a severe reproof, impressed Peter’s disciples with a more lively 
fear. Had Peter disputed Paul’s sentence, he might justly have been blamed as upsetting the 
plan, but now that the one reproves and the other keeps silence, the Jewish party are filled 
with serious alarm; and this is why he used Peter so severely. Observe too Paul’s careful 
choice of expressions, whereby he points out to the discerning, that he uses them in pursuance 
of the plan, (oixovopiac;) and not from anger. 

His words are, “When Cephas came to Antioch, I resisted him to the face, because he 
stood condemned;” that is, not by me but by others; had he himself condemned him, he 
would not have shrunk from saying so. And the words, “I resisted him to the face,” imply 
a scheme for had their discussion been real, they would not have rebuked each other in the 
presence of the disciples, for it would have been a great stumblingblock to them. But now 
this apparent contest was much to their advantage; as Paul had yielded to the Apostles at 
Jerusalem, so in turn they yield to him at Antioch. The cause of censure is this, “For before 
that certain came from James,” who was the teacher at Jerusalem, “he did eat with the 


71. Cyril. Alex, in Julian, ix. fin. Gregor, in Ezech. ii. Horn. 6, 9. Ambrosiast. in loc.) S. Austin is influenced in 
his judgment of the transaction by an anxiety lest disingenuousness and duplicity should receive countenance 
from the apparent example of an Apostle; S. Chrysostom and S. Jerome by affectionate reverence for the memory 
of so great a benefactor and so exalted a saint. Vid. Justinian, in loco. [In earlier life Chrysostom had himself practiced 
such a “scheme,” as that which he here attributes to Paul. In order to induce his friend Basil to be consecrated as a bishop 
he made on him the (false) impression that he himself had already been consecrated.] Neander ( Life of Chrysostom p. 
22.) says: “In the first book of his work on the Priesthood Chrysostom defends the principle that a falsehood is permitted 
for a good object. An invention which has for its sole object the advantage of another is rather an oiKovopia (the word 
he uses in expounding our passage.) This lax view respecting truth was not peculiar to Chrysostom but was consonant 
with the prevailing spirit of the Eastern Church. There were a few exceptions however to this view, among whom were 
John of Lycopolis in Egypt, and Basil of Caesarea who says rou xupiov 5ia(popav iJjeuSoix; ouScpafv EKcpfjvavTop. Schaff 
says ( Prolegomena p. 8): “Origen, Jerome and Chrysostom explain the offense of this collision away by turning it into a 
theatrical and hypocritical farce, shrewdly arranged by the Apostle for a purpose. In this respect the modern standard of 
ethics is far superior to that of the Fathers and more fully accords with the spirit of the New Testament.” [We may add 
that Chrysostom’s view gains nothing; for to save one Apostle from the charge of unpremeditated hypocrisy, he makes 
both guilty of premeditated hypocrisy. — G.A.] 


40 



Galatians 2:1,2 


Gentiles, but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing them that were 
of the Circumcision:” his cause of fear was not his own danger, (for if he feared not in the 
beginning, much less would he do so then,) but their defection. As Paul himself says to the 
Galatians, “I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain:” 
(Gal. iv. 1 1 .) and again, “I fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve, . . . so your minds 
should be corrupted.” (2 Cor. xi. 3.) Thus the fear of death they knew not, but the fear lest 
their disciples should perish, agitated their inmost soul. 

Ver. 13. “Insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away with their dissimulation.” 

Be not surprised at his giving this proceeding the name of dissimulation, for he is un- 
willing, as I said before, to disclose the true state of the case, in order to the correction of 
his disciples. On account of their vehement attachment to the Law, he calls the present 
proceeding “dissimulation,” and severely rebukes it, in order effectually to eradicate their 
prejudice. And Peter too, hearing this joins in the feint, as if he had erred, that they might 
be corrected by means of the rebuke administered to him. Had Paul reproved these Jews, 
they would have spurned at it with indignation, for they held him in slight esteem; but now, 
when they saw their Teacher silent under rebuke, they were unable to despise or resist Paul’s 
sentence. 

Ver. 14. “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the 
Gospel.” 

Neither let this phrase disturb you, for in using it he does not condemn Peter, but so 
expresses himself for the benefit of those who were to be reformed by the reproof of Peter. 

Ver. 14. “I said unto Cephas before them all.” 

Observe his mode of correcting the others; he speaks “before them all,” that the hearers 
might be alarmed thereby. And this is what he says, — 

Ver. 14. “If thou, being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how 

rn 

compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” 

But it was the Jews and not the Gentiles who were carried away together with Peter; 
why then does Paul impute what was not done, instead of directing his remarks, not against 
the Gentiles, but against the dissembling Jews? And why does he accuse Peter alone, when 
the rest also dissembled together with him? Let us consider the terms of his charge; “If thou, 
being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, how compellest thou the 
Gentiles to live as do the Jews?” for in fact Peter alone had withdrawn himself. His object 
then is to remove suspicion from his rebuke; had he blamed Peter for observing the Law, 
the Jews would have censured him for his boldness towards their Teacher. But now arraigning 


57 [For the bearing of this passage upon the Tubingen theory of Baur, “the most important of recent theolo- 
gical controversies” see Lightfoot’s Commentary on Galatians, Excursus on St. Paul and the Three, pp. 191 f£, 
and Fisher’s Supernatural Origin of Christianity, pp. 205-ff. — G.A.] 


41 


Galatians 2:1,2 


him in behalf of his own peculiar disciples, I mean the Gentiles, he facilitates thereby the 
reception of what he has to say which he also does by abstaining from reproof of the others, 
and addressing it all to the Apostle. “If thou,” he says, “being a Jew, livest as do the Gentiles, 
and not as do the Jews;” which almost amounts to an explicit exhortation to imitate their 
Teacher, who, himself a Jew, lived after the manner of the Gentiles. This however he says 
not, for they could not have received such advice, but under color of reproving him in behalf 
of the Gentiles, he discloses Peter’s real sentiments. On the other hand, if he had said, 
Wherefore do you compel these Jews to Judaize? his language would have been too severe. 
But now he effects their correction by appearing to espouse the part, not of the Jewish, but 
of the Gentile, disciples; for rebukes, which are moderately severe, secure the readiest recep- 
tion. And none of the Gentiles could object to Paul that he took up the defense of the Jews. 
The whole difficulty was removed by Peter’s submitting in silence to the imputation of dis- 
simulation, in order that he might deliver the Jews from its reality. At first Paul directs his 
argument to the character which Peter wore, “If thou, being a Jew:” but he generalizes as he 

co 

goes on, and includes himself in the phrase, 

Ver. 15. “We being Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.” 59 

These words are hortatory, but are couched in the form of a reproof, on account of those 
Jews. So elsewhere, under cover of one meaning he conveys another; as where he says in his 
Epistle to the Romans, “But now I go unto Jerusalem, ministering unto the saints.” (Rom. 
xv. 25.) Here his object was not simply to inform them of the motive of his journey to Jeru- 
salem, but to excite them to emulation in the giving of alms. Had he merely wished to explain 
his motive, it would have sufficed to say, “I go to ministering unto the saints;” but now ob- 
serve what he says in addition; “For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia 
to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem. Yea, it 
hath been their good pleasure and their debtors they are.” And again, “For if the Gentiles 
have been made partakers of their spiritual things, they owe it to them, also to minister unto 
them in carnal things.” (Rom. xv. 26, 27.) 

Observe how he represses the high thoughts of the Jews; preparing for one thing by 
means of another, and his language is authoritative. “We being Jews by nature, and not 
sinners of the Gentiles.” The phrase, “Jews by nature,” implies that we, who are not proselytes, 


58 [For the bearing of this passage upon the Tubingen theory of Baur, “the most important of recent theolo- 
gical controversies” see Lightfoot’s Commentary on Galatians, Excursus on St. Paul and the Three, pp. 191 f£, 
and Fisher’s Supernatural Origin of Christianity, pp. 205-ff. — G.A.] 

59 [Schaff says: “The following verses to the end of the chapter are a summary report or dramatic sketch of 
Paul’s address to Peter.” So also Meyer who gives four good reasons for this view. So also Schmoller (in Lange) 
and Ellicott. Others think that w. 15-21 are addressed to the Galatians. — G.A.] 


42 


Galatians 2:1,2 


but educated from early youth in the Law, have relinquished our habitual mode of life, and 
be taken ourselves to the faith which is in Christ. 

Ver. 16. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, save through 
faith, in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus.” 

Observe here too how cautiously he expresses himself; he does not say that they had 
abandoned the Law as evil, but as weak. If the law cannot confer righteousness, it follows 
that circumcision is superfluous; and so far he now proves; but he proceeds to show that it 
is not only superfluous but dangerous. It deserves especial notice, how at the outset he says 
that a man is not justified by the works of the Law; but as he proceeds he speaks more 
strongly; 

Ver. 17. “But if, while we sought to be justified in Christ, we ourselves also were found 
sinners is Christ a minister of sin?” 

If faith in Him, says he, avail not for our justification, but it be necessary again to embrace 
the Law, and if, having forsaken the Law for Christ’s sake, we are not justified but condemned 
for such abandonment, — then shall we find Him, for whose sake we forsook the Law and 
went over to faith the author of our condemnation. 60 Observe how, he has resolved the 
matter to a necessary absurdity. And mark how earnestly and strongly he argues. For if, he 
says, it behooved us not to abandon the Law, and we have so abandoned it for Christ’s sake, 
we shall be judged. Wherefore do you urge this upon Peter, who is more intimately acquain- 
ted with it than any one? Hath not God declared to him, that an uncircumcised man ought 
not to be judged by circumcision; and did he not in his discussion with the Jews rest his 
bold opposition upon the vision which he saw? Did he not send from Jerusalem unequivocal 
decrees upon this subject? Paul’s object is not therefore to correct Peter, but his animadver- 
sion required to be addressed to him, though it was pointed at the disciples; and not only 
at the Galatians, but also at others who labor under the same error with them. For though 
few are now circumcised, yet, by fasting and observing the sabbath with the Jews, they equally 
exclude themselves from grace. If Christ avails not to those who are only circumcised, much 
more is peril to be feared where fasting and sabbatizing are observed, and thus two com- 
mandments of the Law are kept in the place of one. And this is aggravated by a consideration 
of time: for they so acted at first while the city and temple and other institutions yet existed; 
but these who with the punishment of the Jews, and the destruction of the city before their 
eyes, 61 observe more precepts of the Law than the others did, what apology can they find 


60 [“Thus to be justified in Christ, it was necessary to sink to the level of Gentiles to become ‘sinners’ in fact. 
But are we not thus making Christ a minster of sin? Away with the profane thought! No, the guilt is not in 
abandoning the Law, but in seeking it again when abandoned. Thus alone we convict ourselves of transgression. 
On the other hand in abandoning the Law we did but follow the promptings of the Law.” Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

61 [The Epistle to the Galatians was written in the year a.d. 56 or 57 and the destruction of Jerusalem occurred 
in a.d. 70. — G.A.] 


43 


Galatians 2:1,2 


for such observance, at the very time when the Jews themselves, in spite of their strong desire, 
cannot keep it? Thou hast put on Christ, thou hast become a member of the Lord, and been 
enrolled in the heavenly city, and dost thou still grovel in the Law? How is it possible for 
thee to obtain the kingdom? Listen to Paul’s words, that the observance of the Law overthrows 
the Gospel, and learn, if thou wilt, how this comes to pass, and tremble, and shun this pitfall. 
Wherefore dost thou keep the sabbath, and fast with the Jews? Is it that thou fearest the Law 
and abandonment of its letter? But thou wouldest not entertain this fear, didst thou not 
disparage faith as weak, and by itself powerless to save. A fear to omit the sabbath plainly 
shows that you fear the Law as still in force; and if the Law is needful, it is so as a whole, not 
in part, nor in one commandment only; and if as a whole, the righteousness which is by 
faith is little by little shut out. If thou keep the sabbath, why not also be circumcised? and 
if circumcised, why not also offer sacrifices? If the Law is to be observed, it must be observed 
as a whole, or not at all. If omitting one part makes you fear condemnation, this fear attaches 
equally to all the parts. If a transgression of the whole is not punishable, much less is the 
transgression of a part; on the other hand, if the latter be punishable, much more is the 
former. But if we are bound to keep the whole, we are bound to disobey Christ, or by 
obedience to Him become transgressors of the Law. If it ought to be kept, those who keep 
it not are transgressors, and Christ will be found to be the cause of this transgression, for 
He annulled the Law as regards these things Himself, and bid others annul it. Do you not 
understand what these Judaizers are compassing? They would make Christ, who is to us the 
Author of righteousness, the Author of sin, as Paul says, “Therefore Christ is the minister 
of sin.” Having thus reduced the proposition to an absurdity, he had nothing further to do 
by way of overthrowing it, but was satisfied with the simple protestation, 

Ver. 17. “God forbid:” for shamelessness and irreverence need not be met by processes 
of reasoning, but a mere protest is enough. 

Ver. 18. “For if I build up again those things which I destroyed, I prove myself a trans- 
gressor.” 62 

Observe the Apostle’s discernment; his opponents endeavored to show, that he who 
kept not the Law was a transgressor, but he retorts the argument upon them, and shows 
that he who did keep the Law was a transgressor, not merely of faith, but of the Law itself. 
“I build up again the things which I destroyed,” that is, the Law; he means as follows: the 
Law has confessedly ceased, and we have abandoned it, and betaken ourselves to the salvation 
which comes of faith. But if we make a point of setting it up again, we become by that very 


62 [“I myself (Paul now politely chooses the first person but means Peter) stand convicted of transgression 

if I build again (as thou dost now at Antioch) the very law of Moses which I pulled down (as thou didst at Caesarea 
by divine command and at first at Antioch) and thus condemn my own former conduct.” — Schaff in Pop. 
Com. — G.A.] 


44 


Galatians 2:1,2 


act transgressors, striving to keep what God has annulled. Next he shows how it has been 
annulled. 

/TO 

Ver. 19. “For I through the Law died unto the Law.” 

This may be viewed in two ways; it is either the law of grace which he speaks of, for he 
is wont to call this a law, as in the words, “For the law of the Spirit of life made me free:” 
(Rom. viii. 2.) or it is the old Law, of which he says, that by the Law itself he has become 
dead to the Law. That is to say, the Law itself has taught me no longer to obey itself, and 
therefore if I do so, I shall be transgressing even its teaching. 64 How, in what way has it so 
taught? Moses says, speaking of Christ, “The Lord God will raise up unto thee a Prophet 
from the midst of thee of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him shall ye hearken.” (Deut. 
xviii. 15.) Therefore they who do not obey Him, transgress the Law. Again, the expression, 
“I through the Law died unto the Law,” may be understood in another sense: the Law com- 
mands all its precepts to be performed, and punishes the transgressor; therefore we are all 
dead to it, for no man has fulfilled it. Here observe, how guardedly he assails it; he says not, 
“the Law is dead to me;” but, “I am dead to the Law;” the meaning of which is, that, as it is 
impossible for a dead corpse to obey the commands of the Law, so also is it for me who have 
perished by its curse, for by its word am I slain. Let it not therefore lay commands on the 
dead, dead by its own act, dead not in body only, but in soul, which has involved the death 
of the body. This he shows in what follows: 

Ver. 19, 20. “That I might live unto God, 65 I have been crucified with Christ.” 

Having said, “I am dead,” lest it should be objected, how then dost thou live? he adds 
the cause of his living, and shows that when alive the Law slew him, but that when dead 
Christ through death restored him to life. He shows the wonder to be twofold; that by Christ 
both the dead was begotten into life, and that by means of death. He here means the immortal 
life, for this is the meaning of the words, “That I might live unto God I am crucified with 
Christ.” 66 How, it is asked, can a man now living and breathing have been crucified? That 
Christ hath been crucified is manifest, but how canst thou have been crucified, and yet live? 
He explains it thus; 


63 [’eyd> yap — In m y case the process has been this, using his own experience. — G.A.] 

64 [“This second interpretation of Chrysostom is undoubtedly the correct one (though he errs in elucidating 
the relation of 5id; by referring to Deut. xviii. 15.) comp. Rom. vii. 4, 6; The law itself led him to Christ, by de- 
veloping the sense of sin and the need of redemption.” — Schaff in Pop. Coin. — G.A.] 

65 [“That I might live unto God” is not to be joined to “I have been crucified with Christ” as Chrysostom, for 
it belongs to the completeness of the thought introduced by yap ver. 19. — Meyer. — G.A.] 

66 [“That I might live unto God” is not to be joined to “I have been crucified with Christ” as Chrysostom, for 
it belongs to the completeness of the thought introduced by yap ver. 19. — Meyer. — G.A.] 


45 


Galatians 2:1,2 


(\7 

Ver. 20. “Yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me.” 

/TO 

In these words, “I am crucified with Christ,” he alludes to Baptism and in the words 
“nevertheless I live, yet not I,” our subsequent manner of life whereby our members are 
mortified. By saying “Christ liveth in me,” he means nothing is done by me, which Christ 
disapproves; for as by death he signifies not what is commonly understood, but a death to 
sin; so by life, he signifies a delivery from sin. For a man cannot live to God, otherwise than 
by dying to sin; and as Christ suffered bodily death, so does Paul a death to sin. “Mortify,” 
says he, “your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion;” (Col. 
iii. 5.), and again, “our old man was crucified,” (Rom. vi. 6.) which took place in the Bath. 69 
After which, if thou remainest dead to sin, thou livest to God, but if thou let it live again, 
thou art the ruin of thy new life. This however did not Paul, but continued wholly dead; if 
then, he says, I live to God a life other than that in the Law, and am dead to the Law, I cannot 
possibly keep any part of the Law. Consider how perfect was his walk, and thou wilt be 
transported with admiration of this blessed soul. He says not, “I live,” but, “Christ liveth in 
me;” who is bold enough to utter such words? Paul indeed, who had harnessed himself to 
Christ’s yoke, and cast away all worldly things, and was paying universal obedience to His 
will, says not, “I live to Christ,” but what is far higher, “Christ liveth in me.” As sin, when it 
has the mastery, is itself the vital principle, and leads the soul whither it will, so, when it is 
slain and the will of Christ obeyed, this life is no longer earthly, but Christ liveth, that is, 
works, has mastery within us. His saying, “I am crucified with Him” “I no longer live,” but 
“am dead,” seeming incredible to many, he adds, 

Ver. 20. “And that life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith, the faith which is in 
the Son of God.” 

The foregoing, says he, relates to our spiritual life, but this life of sense too, if considered, 
will be found owing to my faith in Christ. For as regards the former Dispensation and Law, 
I had incurred the severest punishment, and had long ago perished, “for all have sinned, 
and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. iii. 23.) And we, who lay under sentence, have 
been liberated by Christ, for all of us are dead, if not in fact, at least by sentence; and He has 
delivered us from the expected blow. When the Law had accused, and God condemned us, 
Christ came, and by giving Himself up to death, rescued us all from death. So that “the life 
which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith.” Had not this been, nothing could have averted 


67 [This is the rendering of the Rev. Ver. though the American Committee has, “And it is no longer I that 
live;” and correctly so. For as Dr. Schaff says, The reading of the Rev. Ver. (and the Author. Ver. too) conveys 
a beautiful and true idea, but it is grammatically incorrect, since the original has no “nevertheless” and no “yet.” 
Pop. Com. on Gal. and Companion to the Greek Testament, p. 453. — G.A.] 

68 [Chrysostom held baptismal regeneration. — G.A.] 

69 [Chrysostom held baptismal regeneration. — G.A.] 


46 


Galatians 2:1,2 


a destruction as general as that which took place at the flood, but His advent arrested the 
wrath of God, and caused us to live by faith. That such is his meaning appears from what 
follows. After saying, that “the life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith,” he adds, 

Ver. 20. “In the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself up for me.” 

How is this, O Paul! why dost thou appropriate a general benefit, and make thine own 
what was done for the whole world’s sake? for he says not, “Who loved us,” but, “Who loved 
me.” And besides the Evangelist says, “God so loved the world;” (John iii. 16.) and Paul 
himself, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up,” not for Paul only, but, 
“for us all;” (Rom. viii. 32.) and again, “that He might purify unto himself a people for his 
own possession,” (Tit. ii. 14.) But considering the desperate condition of human nature, 
and the ineffably tender solicitude of Christ, in what He delivered us from, and what He 
freely gave us, and kindled by the yearning of affection towards Him, he thus expresses 
himself. Thus the Prophets often appropriate to themselves Him who is God of all, as in the 
words, “O God, thou art my God, early will I seek Thee.” (Psalm lxiii. 1.) Moreover, this 
language teaches that each individual justly owes as a great debt of gratitude to Christ, as if 
He had come for his sake alone, for He would not have grudged this His condescension 
though but for one, so that the measure of His love to each is as great as to the whole world. 
Truly the Sacrifice was offered for all mankind, and was sufficient to save all, but those 
who enjoy the blessing are the believing only. Nevertheless it did not deter Him from His 
so great condescension, that not all would come; but He acted after the pattern of the supper 
in the Gospel, which He prepared for all, (Luke xiv. 16.) yet when the guests came not, instead 
of withdrawing the viands, He called in others. So too He did not despise that sheep, though 
one only, which had strayed from the ninety and nine. (Mat. xviii. 12.) This too in like 
manner St. Paul intimates, when he says, speaking about the Jews, “For what if some were 
without faith, shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God? God 
forbid: yea let God be found true, but every man a liar.” (Rom. iii. 3, 4.) When He so loved 
thee as to give Himself up to bring thee who wast without hope to a life so great and blessed, 
canst thou, thus gifted, have recourse to things gone by? His reasoning being completed, he 
concludes with a vehement asseveration, saying, 

1 1 

Ver. 21. “I do not make void the grace of God.” 

Let those, who even now Judaize and adhere to the Law, listen to this, for it applies to 
them. 


70 [“Chrysostom teaches that God foreordained all men to holiness and salvation and that Christ died for all 
and is both willing and able to save all, but not against their will.” — Schaff, Proleg. p. 20. — G.A.] 

71 [“Negative side of the life which Paul (from ver. 19.) has described as his own. By this negative, with the 
grave reason assigned for it in the latter part of the verse, the perverse conduct of Peter is completely con- 
demned.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


47 


Galatians 2:1,2 


Ver. 21. “For if righteousness is through the Law, then Christ died for naught.” 

What can be more heinous than this sin? what more fit to put one to shame than these 
words? Christ’s death is a plain proof of the inability of the Law to justify us; and if it does 
justify, then is His death superfluous. Yet how could it be reasonable to say that has been 
done heedlessly and in vain which is so awful, so surpassing human reason, a mystery so 
ineffable, with which Patriarchs travailed, which Prophets foretold, which Angels gazed on 
with consternation, which all men confess as the summit of the Divine tenderness? Reflecting 
how utterly out of place it would be if they should say that so great and high a deed had 
been done superfluously, (for this is what their conduct came to,) he even uses violent lan- 
guage against them, as we find in the words which follow. 


72 [“This blasphemous inference gives the finishing stroke to the false Judaizing gospel. “This collision between 
Peter and Paul furnished material to the Ebionites for an attack upon Paul, to the Gnostics for an attack upon the Jewish 
apostles and to Porphyry for an attack upon Christianity itself [as well as to Baur and the Tubingen school for an attack 
in modern times from a different standpoint] . But Christianity has surveyed all these attacks and gains new strength 
from every conflict.” — Schaff.— G.A.] 


48 


Galatians 3:1 


Chapter III. 

Verse 1 

no 

“O foolish Galatians who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set 
forth, crucified?” 

Here he passes to another subject; in the former chapters he had shown himself not to 
be an Apostle of men, nor by men, nor in want of Apostolic instruction. Now, having estab- 
lished his authority as a teacher, he proceeds to discourse more confidently, and draws a 
comparison between faith and the Law. At the outset he said, “I marvel that ye are so quickly 
removing;” (Gal. i. 6.) but here, “O foolish Galatians;” then, his indignation was in its birth, 
but now, after his refutation of the charges against himself, and his proofs, it bursts forth. 
Let not his calling them “foolish” surprise you; for it is not a transgression of Christ’s com- 
mand not to call one’s brother a fool, but rather a strict observance of it. For it is not said 
simply, “Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou fool,” (Mat. v. 22.) but, whosoever shall 
do so, “without a cause.” 74 And who more fittingly than they could so be called, who after 
so great events, adhered to past things, as if nothing else had ever happened? If on this account 
Paul is to be called a “reviler,” Peter may likewise, on account of Annanias and Sapphira, 
be called a homicide; but as it would be wildness to do so in that case, much more in this. 
Moreover it is to be considered, that this vehemence is not used at the beginning, but after 
these evidences and proofs, which, rather than Paul himself, might now be held to administer 
the rebuke. For after he had shown that they rejected the faith, and made the death of Christ 
to be without a purpose, he introduces his reproof, which, even as it is, is less severe than 
they merited. Observe too how soon he stays his arm; for he adds not, Who has seduced 
you? who has perverted you? who has been sophistical with you? but, “Who hath cast an 
envious eye on you?” thus tempering his reprimand with somewhat of praise. For it implies 

nr 

that their previous course had excited jealousy, and that the present occurrence arose 
from the malignity of a demon, whose breath had blasted their prosperous estate. 


73 [“Paul addresses himself again directly to the Galatians with an expression of indignant surprise at their 
relapse into Judaism and passes from the historical to the doctrinal part of the Epistle, from the apology of his 
apostolic authority to the defense of his apostolic teaching.” — Schaff in Pop. Com. — G.A.] 

74 [The word ettcrj, ‘without a cause,’ occurs in the textus receptus on inferior authority in connection with 
the words ‘whosoever shall be angry with his brother’ (without a cause), but no where with the words, ‘whosoever 
shall say, Thou fool,’ as Chrys. here connects them. — G.A.] 

75 [“The word means ‘to bewitch by words, to enchant,’ and is not to be explained with Chrysostom, ‘who 
has envied you?’ that is, your previous happy condition?” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


49 


Galatians 3:1 


And when you hear of jealousy in this place, and in the Gospel, of an evil eye, which 
means the same, you must not suppose that the glance of the eye has any natural power to 
injure those who look upon it. For the eye, that is, the organ itself, cannot be evil; but Christ 
in that place means jealousy by the term. To behold, simply, is the function of the eye, but 
to behold in an evil manner belongs to a mind depraved within. As through this sense the 
knowledge of visible objects enters the soul, and as jealousy is for the most part generated 
by wealth, and wealth and sovereignty and pomp are perceived by the eye, therefore he calls 
the eye evil; not as beholding merely, but as beholding enviously from some moral depravity. 
Therefore by the words, “Who hath looked enviously on you,” he implies that the persons 
in question acted, not from concern, not to supply defects, but to mutilate what existed. For 
envy, far from supplying what is wanting, subtracts from what is complete, and vitiates the 
whole. And he speaks thus, not as if envy had any power of itself, but meaning, that the 
teachers of these doctrines did so from envious motives. 

Ver. 1. “Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth, crucified.” 

Yet was He not crucified in Galatia, but at Jerusalem. His reason for saying, “among 

n/r 

you,” is to declare the power of faith to see events which are at a distance. He says not, 
“crucified,” but, “openly set forth crucified,” signifying that by the eye of faith they saw more 
distinctly than some who were present as spectators. For many of the latter received no be- 
nefit, but the former, who were not eye-witnesses, yet saw it by faith more clearly. These 
words convey both praise and blame; praise, for their implicit acceptance of the truth; blame, 
because Him whom they had seen, for their sakes, stripped naked, transfixed, nailed to the 
cross, spit upon, mocked, fed with vinegar, upbraided by thieves, pierced with a spear; (for 
all this is implied in the words, “openly set forth, crucified,”) Him had they left, and betaken 
themselves to the Law, unshamed by any of those sufferings. Here observe how Paul, leaving 
all mention of heaven, earth, and sea, every where preaches the power of Christ, bearing 
about as he did, and holding up His cross: for this is the sum of the Divine love toward us. 

Ver. 2. “This only would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the 
Law, or by the hearing of faith?” 

As ye do not attend, says he, to long discourses, nor are willing to contemplate the 
magnitude of this Economy, I am desirous, (seeing your extreme ignorance,) to convince 
you by concise arguments and a summary method of proof. Before, he had convinced them 
by what he said to Peter; now, he encounters them entirely with arguments, drawn not from 
what had occurred elsewhere, but from what had happened among themselves. And his 


76 [Ev uptv is spurious, being omitted by Aleph. A. B. C. versions, Fathers, and Rev. Ver. as well as by W. and 
H. — G.A.] 

77 [“This signifies the life-like pictorial vivacity and effectiveness of Paul’s preaching of Christ and Him cru- 
cified. The Greek verb is used of placarding public notices and proclamations.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 

78 [“See how effectually he treats the topic from (their own) experience.” — Luther, quoted by Meyer. G.A.] 

50 


Galatians 3:1 


persuasives and proofs are adduced, not merely from what was given them in common with 
others, but from what was especially conferred on themselves. Therefore he says, “This only 
would I learn from you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing 
of faith.” Ye have received, he says, the Holy Spirit, ye have done many mighty works, ye 
have effected miracles in raising the dead, in cleansing lepers, in prophesying, in speaking 
with tongues, — did the Law confer this great power upon you? was it not rather Faith, seeing 
that, before, ye could do no such things? Is it not then the height of madness for these who 
have received such benefits from Faith, to abandon it, and desert back to the Law which can 
offer you nothing of the same kind? 

Ver. 3. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh?” 
Here again he seasonably interposes a rebuke; time, he says, should have brought im- 
provement; but, so far from advancing, ye have even retrograded. Those who start from 
small beginnings make progress to higher things; ye, who began with the high, have relapsed 
to the low. Even had your outset been carnal, your advance should have been spiritual, but 
now, after starting from things spiritual, ye have ended your journey in that which is carnal; 
for to work miracles is spiritual, but to be circumcised is carnal. And after miracles ye have 
passed to circumcision, after having apprehended the truth ye have fallen back to types, 
after gazing on the sun ye seek a candle, after having strong meat ye run for milk. He says, 
“made perfect,” which means not “initiated” merely, but “sacrificed,” signifying that their 
teachers took and slew them like animals, while they resigned themselves to suffer what 
those teachers pleased. As if some captain, or distinguished man, after a thousand victories 
and trophies, were to subj ect himself to infamy as a deserter, and offer his body to be branded 
at the will of others. 

on 

Ver. 4. “Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain.” 

This remark is far more piercing than the former, for the remembrance of their miracles 
would not be so powerful as the exhibition of their contests and endurance of sufferings for 


79 [This distinction between tcAiw and STnreAiw was not in the mind of the Apostle. The contrast with 
evap^dpcvot, ‘having begun,’ shows that ett reAcTaSe simply means ‘are ye made perfect,’ “the compound involving 
the idea of bringing to a ‘complete and perfect’ end.” (Ellicott.) There may be a slight tinge of irony in the com- 
pound word. — G.A.] 

80 [“As we know nothing of persecutions endured by Galatians, it seems preferable to take the word in a 
neutral sense embracing all spiritual experiences (blessings and benefits as well) of the Galatians. (Comp. v. 3 
and 6.)” — Schaff. Lightfoot refers it to the persecutions endured by the Galatians from Jews citing Gal. v. 11; 
and says “the et yeleaves a loophole for doubt which the Kal, following, widens.” So Ellicott. Meyer says, “It 
refers to everything which the false apostles in their Judaistic zeal had troubled and burdened the Galatians with. 
The eiKt) then means “and all to no profit, all in vain,” if indeed it be only (kcci) in vain and not to the positive 
risk of your Messianic salvation that ye have suffered.” — G.A.] 


51 


Galatians 3:1 


Christ’s sake. All that you have endured, says he, these men would strip you of, and would 
rob you of your crown. Then, lest he should dismay and unnerve, he proceeds not to a 
formal judgment, but subjoins, “if it be indeed in vain;” if you have but a mind to shake off 
drowsiness and recover yourselves, he says, it is not in vain. Where then be those who would 

o 1 

cut off repentance ? Here were men who had received the Spirit, worked miracles, become 
confessors, encountered a thousand perils and persecutions for Christ’s sake, and after so 
many achievements had fallen from grace; nevertheless he says, if ye have the purpose, ye 
may recover yourselves. 

Ver. 5. “He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, 
doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” 

Have ye been vouchsafed, he says, so great a gift, and achieved such wonders, because 
ye observed the Law, or because ye adhered to Faith? plainly on account of Faith. Seeing 
that they played this argument to and fro, that apart from the Law, Faith had no force, he 
proves the contrary, viz., that if the Commandments be added, Faith no longer avails; for 
Faith then has efficacy when things from the Law are not added to it. “Ye who would be 
justified by the Law, ye are fallen away from grace:” (Gal. v. 4.) This he says later, when his 
language has grown bolder, employing the vantage-ground by that time gained; meanwhile 
while gaining it, he argues from their past experience. For it was when ye obeyed Faith, he 
says, not the Law, that ye received the Spirit and wrought miracles. 

And here, as the Law was the subject of discussion, he moots another special point of 
controversy, and very opportunely and with much cogency introduces a notice of Abraham. 
Ver. 6. “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness.” 
Even the miracles done by themselves, he says, declare the power of Faith, but I shall 
attempt if you will suffer me to draw my proofs from ancient narratives also. Then, as they 
made great account of the Patriarch, he brings his example forward, and shows that he too 
was justified by Faith. And if he who was before grace, was justified by Faith, although 
plentiful in works, much more we. For what loss was it to him, not being under the Law? 
None, for his faith sufficed unto righteousness. The Law did not then exist, he says, neither 
does it now exist, any more than then. In disproving the need of the Law, he introduces one 
who was justified before the Law, lest an objection should also be made to him; for as then 


81 The Novatians, who said the revealed covenant of grace did not provide for the case of the lapsed. 

82 [“The answer, obvious of itself, to the preceding question is dKOfjq moTEUx;, ‘from the hearing of faith,’ 
and to this Paul subjoins that great religious-historic argument for the righteousness of faith which is presented 
in the justification of the progenitor of the theocratic people.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


52 


Galatians 3:1 


it was not yet given, so now, having been given, it was abrogated. And as they made much 
of their descent from Abraham, and feared lest, abandoning the Law, they should be con- 
sidered strangers to his kin; Paul removes this fear by turning their argument against 
themselves, and proves that faith is especially concerned in connecting them with Abraham. 
He draws out this argument more at length in the Epistle to the Romans; however he urges 
it also here in, the words, 

Ver. 7. “Know therefore, that they which be of faith, the same are sons of Abraham.” 

Which he proves by ancient testimony thus: 

oo 

Ver. 8. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, 
preached the Gospel beforehand unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the nations be 
blessed.” 

If then those were Abraham’s sons, not, who were related to him by blood, but who 
follow his faith, for this is the meaning of the words, “In thee all the nations,” it is plain that 
the heathen are brought into kindred with him. 

Hereby too is proved another important point. It perplexed them that the Law was the 
older, and Faith afterwards. Now he removes this notion by showing that Faith was anterior 
to the Law; as is evident from Abraham’s case, who was justified before the giving of the 
Law. He shows too that late events fell out according to prophecy; “The Scripture,” says he, 
“foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand 
unto Abraham.” Attend to this point. He Himself who gave the Law, had decreed, before 
He gave it, that the heathen should be justified by Faith. And he says not “revealed,” but, 
“preached the Gospel,” to signify that the patriarch was in joy at this method of justification, 
and in great desire for its accomplishment. 

Further, they were possessed with another apprehension; it was written, “Cursed is every 
one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the Law, to do them.” 
(Deut. xxvii. 26.) And this he removes, with great skill and prudence, turning their argument 
against themselves, and showing that those who relinquish the Law are not only not cursed, 
but blessed; and they who keep it, not only not blessed but cursed. They said that he who 
kept not the Law was cursed, but he proves that he who kept it was cursed, and he who kept 
it not, blessed. Again, they said that he who adhered to Faith alone was cursed, but he shows 
that he who adhered to Faith alone, is blessed. And how does he prove all this? for it is no 
common thing which we have promised; wherefore it is necessary to give close attention to 
what follows. He had already shown this, by referring to the words spoken to the Patriarch, 
“In thee shall all nations be blessed,” (Gen. xii. 4.) at a time, that is, when Faith existed, not 
the Law; so he adds by way of conclusion, 


83 [“The Scripture personified. The only case in N.T. where the personification of Scripture goes beyond 
Myei or eiTtev,” etc. — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


53 


Galatians 3:1 


QA 

Ver. 9. “So then they which be of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham.” 

Then, that they might not turn round, and object that, true it was Abraham was justified 
by Faith, for the Law was not then given, but what instance would be found of Faith justifying 
after the delivery of the Law? he addresses himself to this, and proves more than they required: 
namely, not only that Faith was justifying, but that the Law brought its adherents under a 
curse. To be sure of this, listen to the very words of the Apostle. 

or 

Ver. 10. “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse.” 

This is what he lays down, before proving it; and what is the proof? it is from the Law 
itself: — 

Ver. 10, 11. “For it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that 
are written in the book of the Law to do them. Now that no man is justified by the Law is 
evident.” 

For all have sinned, and are under the curse. However he does not say this yet, lest he 
should seem to lay it down of himself, but here again establishes his point by a text which 
concisely states both points; that no man has fulfilled the Law, (wherefore they are under 
the curse,) and, that Faith justifies. What then is the text? It is in the book of the prophet 
Habakkuk, “The just shall live by faith,” (Hab. ii. 4.) which not only establishes the righteous- 
ness that is of Faith, but also that there is no salvation through the Law. As no one, he says, 
kept the Law, but all were under the curse, on account of transgression, an easy way was 
provided, that from Faith, which is in itself a strong proof that no man can be justified by 
the Law. For the prophet says not, “The just shall live by the Law,” but, “by faith:” 

Ver. 12. “And the Law is not of faith; but He that doeth them shall live in them.” 

For the Law requires not only Faith but works also, but grace saves and justifies by Faith. 
(Eph. ii. 8.) 

You see how he proves that they are under the curse who cleave to the Law, because it 
is impossible to fulfill it; next, how comes Faith to have this justifying power? for to this 
doctrine he already stood pledged, and now maintains it with great force of argument. The 
Law being too weak to lead man to righteousness, an effectual remedy was provided in Faith, 
which is the means of rendering that possible which was “impossible by the Law.” (Rom. 



84 [“After having pointed out from Scripture v. 6 and 7, that none other than believers are sons of Abraham, 
Paul now shows further from Scripture that none other than believers have a share in Abraham’s blessing, i.e., 
are justified.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

85 [“Having shown by positive proof that justification is of faith, he adds the negative argument derived from 
the impossibility of maintaining its opposite, namely, justification by Law. This negative argument is twofold: 
First, it is impossible to fulfill the requirements of the law and nonfulfillment lays us under a curse (Ver. 10.); Secondly, 
supposing the fulfilment possible, still the spirit of the Law is antagonistic to faith, which is elsewhere spoken of as the 
source oflife. (Ver. 11 and 12.).” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


54 


Galatians 3:1 


viii. 3.) Now as the Scripture says, “the just shall live by faith,” thus repudiating salvation 
by the Law, and moreover as Abraham was justified by Faith, it is evident that its efficacy 
is very great. And it is also clear, that he who abides not by the Law is cursed, and that he 
who keeps to Faith is just. But, you may ask me, how I prove that this curse is not still of 
force? Abraham lived before the Law, but we, who once were subject to the yoke of bondage, 
have made ourselves liable to the curse; and who shall release us therefrom? Observe his 
ready answer to this; his former remark was sufficient; for, if a man be once justified, and 
has died to the Law and embraced a novel life, how can such a one be subject to the curse? 
however, this is not enough for him, so he begins with a fresh argument, as follows: — 

Ver. 13. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us: 

Q/r 

for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” 

In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, “Cursed is every one 
that continueth not in the things that are written in the book of the Law.” (Deut. xxvii. 26.) 
To this curse, I say, people were subject, for no man had continued in, or was a keeper of, 
the whole Law; but Christ exchanged this curse for the other, “Cursed is every one that 
hangeth on a tree.” As then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the Law, 
is cursed, and as it was necessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be 
free from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took upon Him such another, 
and thereby relieved us from the curse. It was like an innocent man’s undertaking to die for 
another sentenced to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon 
Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. 
For, “He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isa. liii. 9; 1 Peter ii. 
22.) And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon 
Himself the curse, He delivered them from it. 

Ver. 14. “That upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham.” 

How on the Gentiles? It is said, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed:” 
(Gen. xxii. 18; xxvi. 4.) that is to say, in Christ. If this were said of the Jews, how would it be 
reasonable that they who were themselves subject to the curse, on account of transgression, 
should become the authors of a blessing to others? an accursed person cannot impart to 
others that blessing of which he is himself deprived. Plainly then it all refers to Christ who 
was the Seed of Abraham, and through whom the Gentiles are blessed. And thus the 
promise of the Spirit is added, as Paul himself declares, “that we might receive the promise 


86 [“A parenthetic justification from Deut. xxi. 23. of the startling expression just used. The passage refers to 

those criminals who, after being stoned, were hung upon a stake, but were not permitted to remain over night 
lest the holy land should be desecrated. Our Saviour fulfilled the legal curse by hanging dead on the cross. This 
is one of the strongest passages for the doctrine of a vicarious atonement. The vicarious efficacy lies not so much 
in the preposition, uttep,’ ‘for,’ as in the whole sentence.” — Schaff — G.A.] 


55 


Galatians 3:1 


an 

of the Spirit through faith.” As the grace of the Spirit could not possibly descend on the 
graceless and offending, they are first blessed the curse having been removed; then being 
justified by faith, they draw unto themselves the grace of the Spirit. Thus the Cross removed 
the curse, Faith brought in righteousness, righteousness drew on the grace of the Spirit. 

Ver. 15. “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, 
yet when it hath been confirmed, no one maketh it void or addeth thereto.” 

oo 

“To speak after the manner of men” means to use human examples. Having founded 
his argument on the Scriptures, on the miracles wrought among themselves, on the sufferings 
of Christ, and on the Patriarch, he proceeds to common usages; and this he does invariably, 
in order to sweeten his discourse, and render it more acceptable and intelligible to the duller 
sort. Thus he argues with the Corinthians, “Who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk 
of the flock? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not the fruit thereof?” (1 Cor. ix. 7.) and 
again with the Hebrews, “For a testament is of force where there hath been death; for doth 
it ever avail while he that made it liveth?” (Heb. ix. 17.) One may find him dwelling with 
pleasure on such arguments. In the Old Testament God does the same thing in many in- 
stances, as, “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” (Isa. xlix. 15.) and again, “Shall the 
clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?” (Isa. xlv. 9.) and in Hosea, He repres- 
ents a husband set at nought by his wife. (Hos. ii. 5, f) This use of human examples frequently 
occurs in types also, as when the prophet takes the girdle, (Jer. xiii. 1-9.) and goes down to 
the potter’s house (Jer. xviii. 1-6.) The meaning of the present example is, that Faith is more 
ancient than the Law, which is later and only temporary, and delivered in order to pave the 
way for Faith. Hence he says, “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men;” above he had 
called them “foolish,” now he calls them “brethren,” at once chiding and encouraging them. 
“Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed.” If a man, says he, 
makes a covenant, does any one dare to come afterwards and overturn it, or subjoin aught 
to it? for this is the meaning of “or addeth thereto.” Much less then when God makes a 
covenant; and with whom did God make a covenant? 


87 [“After a wondrous chain of arguments * * the apostle comes back to the subject of verse 2: the gift of the 
Holy Ghost came through faith in Christ.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

88 [“Paul now assumes a milder tone and reasons from the common dealings of men.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 


56 


Galatians 3:1 


Ver. 16, 17, 18. “Now to Abraham were the promises spoken and to his seed. He saith 
not, And to seeds, 89 as of many; but as of One, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 90 Now this 
I say, A covenant, confirmed before hand by God the Law, which came four hundred and 
thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect. For if the in- 
heritance is of the Law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by 
promise.” 

Thus God made a covenant with Abraham, promising that in his seed the blessing 
should come upon the heathen; and this blessing the Law cannot turn aside. As this example 
was not in all respects appropriate to the matter in hand, he introduces it thus, “I speak after 
the manner of men,” that nothing might be deduced from it derogatory to the majesty of 
God. But let us go to the bottom of this illustration. It was promised Abraham that by his 
seed the heathen should be blessed; and his seed according to the flesh is Christ; four hundred 
and thirty years after came the Law; now, if the Law bestows the blessings even life and 
righteousness, that promise is annulled. And so while no one annuls a man’s covenant, the 
covenant of God after four hundred and thirty years is annulled; for if not that covenant 
but another instead of it bestows what is promised, then is it set aside, which is most unreas- 
onable. 

Ver. 19. “What then is the Law? it was added because of transgressions.” 

This remark again is not superfluous; observe too how he glances round at every thing, 
as if he had an hundred eyes. Having exalted Faith, and proved its elder claims, that the Law 
may not be considered superfluous, he sets right this side of the doctrine also, and proves 
that the Law was not given without a view, but altogether profitably. “Because of transgres- 
sions;” that is to say, that the Jews might not be let live carelessly, and plunge into the depth 
of wickedness, 91 but that the Law might be placed upon them as a bridle, guiding, regulating, 
and checking them from transgressing, if not all, at least some of the commandments. Not 
slight then was the advantage of the Law; but for how long? 


89 [“A difficulty arises here from the stress which Paul lays on the singular of the word ‘seed,’ which is a col- 
lective noun in Heb. and Greek, and includes the whole posterity. But it is not a question of grammar but of 
spiritual meaning. The Promise refers to Christ par excellence , and to all those and only those who are truly 
members of His body, united to Him by a living faith. If all the single descendants of Abraham were meant, the 
children of Hagar and Keturah and subsequently of Esau and his descendants, would have to be in- 
cluded.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 

90 [“Not as a single individual but as Head of the church which is His body, Eph. 1: 23. The key to the passage 
is in ver. 28 and 29: ‘Ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”’ — Schaff. — G.A.] 

91 [“This interpretation of Chrysostom must be rejected on lexical grounds. The law was in order to bring 
sin to light and make it appear in its true character and thus by a knowledge of the disease prepare its 
cure.” — Ellicott and Schaff. — G.A.] 


57 


Galatians 3:1 


Ver. 19. “Till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made.” 

This is said of Christ; if then it was given until His advent, why do you protract it beyond 
its natural period? 

Ver. 19. “And it was ordained through Angels by the hand of a Mediator.” 

He either calls the priests Angels, or he declares that the Angels themselves ministered 
to the delivery of the Law. By Mediator here he means Christ, and shows that He was before 
it, and Himself the Giver of it. 

Q1 

Ver. 20. “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.” 

What can the heretics 94 say to this? for as, according to them, the expression “the Only 
True God” excludes the Son from being true God, so here the phrase “God is One,” excludes 
Him from being God in any sense. But if, although the Father is called “One God,” the Son 
is nevertheless God, it is very plain that though the Father is called “Very God,” the Son is 
very God likewise. Now a mediator, says he, is between two parties; of whom then is Christ 
the Mediator? plainly of God and of men. Observe, he says, that Christ also gave the Law; 
what therefore it was His to give, it is His to annul. 

Ver. 21. “Is the Law then against the promises of God?” 

For if the blessing is given in the seed of Abraham, but the Law brings in the curse, it 
must be contrary to the promises. This objection he meets, first, by a protest, in the words, 

Ver. 21. “God forbid:” 

And next he brings his proof; 

Ver. 21. “For if there had been a law given which could make alive verily righteousness 
would have been of the Law.” 

His meaning is as follows; If we had our hope of life in the Law, and our salvation de- 
pended on it, the objection might be valid. But if it save you, by means of Faith, though it 
brings you under the curse, you suffer nothing from it, gain no harm, in that Faith comes 



92 [“We may reasonably wonder,” says Ellicott, “how the early expositors (Basil and Theodoret excepted) 
could have so generally coincided in the perplexing view of Origen that the Mediator here mentioned was Christ. 
On the contrary it is plain that it was Moses, Deut. v. 5.” — G.A.] 

93 [“This verse is counted the most difficult passage in the New Testament, and has given rise to about 300 
interpretations.” That of Lightfoot seems to satisfy the context, and is thus forcibly put by him: “The law is of the nature 
of a contract between two parties. God on the one hand and the Jewish people on the other. It is valid only so long as 
both parties fulfil the terms of contract. It is therefore contingent and not absolute. Unlike the law the promise is absolute 
and unconditional. It depends on the sole decree of God. There are not two contracting parties. There is nothing of the 
nature of a stipulation. The giver is everything and the recipient nothing.” — Com. in loco. — G.A.] 

94 The heretics refered to are the Anomoeans, who held Arianism in its most developed form, against whom 
S. Chrysostom has written Homilies. For the particular objection answered in the text, vid. also Basil, in Eunom , 
iv. p. 294. Athan. Or in Arian, iii. 9. Greg. Naz. Orat. 36, p. 586. 


58 


Galatians 3:1 


and sets all right. Had the promise been by the Law, you had reasonably feared lest, separating 
from the Law, you should separate from righteousness, but if it was given in order to shut 
up all, that is, to convince all and expose their individual sins, far from excluding you from 
the promises, it now aids you in obtaining them. This is shown by the words, 

Ver. 22. “Howbeit the scripture 95 hath shut up all things under sin, that the promise by 
faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” 

As the Jews were not even conscious of their own sins, and in consequence did not even 
desire remission; the Law was given to probe their wounds, that they might long for a 
physician. And the word “shut up” means “convinced” and conviction held them in fear. 
You see then it is not only not against, but was given for the promises. Had it arrogated to 
itself the work and the authority, the objection would stand; but if its drift is something else, 
and it acted for that, how is it against the promises of God? Had the Law not been given, all 
would have been wrecked upon wickedness, and there would have been no Jews to listen to 
Christ; but now being given, it has effected two things; it has schooled its followers in a 
certain degree of virtue, and has pressed on them the knowledge of their own sins. And this 
especially made them more zealous to seek the Son, for those who disbelieved, disbelieved 
from having no sense of their own sins, as Paul shows; “For being ignorant of God’s right- 
eousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves 
to the righteousness of God.” (Rom. x. 3.) 

Ver. 23. “But before faith came, we were kept inward under the Law, shut up unto the 
faith which should afterwards be revealed.” 

Here he clearly puts forward what I have stated: for the expressions “we were kept” and 
“shut up,” signify nothing else than the security given by the commandments of the Law; 
which like a fortress fenced them round with fear and a life conformable to itself, and so 
preserved them unto Faith. 

Ver. 24. “So that the Law hath been our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be 
justified by faith.” 

Now the Tutor is not opposed to the Preceptor, but cooperates with him, ridding the 
youth from all vice, and having all leisure to fit him for receiving instructions from his 
Preceptor. But when the youth’s habits are formed, then the Tutor leaves him, as Paul says. 


95 [“The Law then though differing widely from the promise is not antagonistic to it, does not interfere with 

it. On the contrary, we might imagine such a law as would justify and give life. This was not the effect of the law 
of Moses, however; on the contrary (aWa) the Scripture (that, namely, about the curse, v. 10:) testifies that the 
Law condemned all alike, yet not finally and irrevocably but only as leading the way for the dispensation of 
faith.” — Lightfoot. Meyer takes a different view of v. 21: “For if it had been opposed to the promises, the Law 
must have been in a position to procure life and if this were so, then would righteousness actually be from the 
Law, which according to the Scripture cannot be so (ver. 22.)” — G.A.] 


59 


Galatians 3:1 


Ver. 25, 26. “But now that faith is come which leads to perfect manhood we are no 
longer under a tutor 96 . For ye are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

The Law then, as it was our tutor, and we were kept shut up under it, is not the adversary 
but the fellow-worker of grace; but if when grace is come, it continues to hold us down, it 
becomes an adversary; for if it confines those who ought to go forward to grace, then it is 
the destruction of our salvation. If a candle which gave light by night, kept us, when it became 
day, from the sun, it would not only not benefit, it would injure us; and so doth the Law, if 
it stands between us and greater benefits. Those then are the greatest traducers of the Law, 
who still keep it, just as the tutor makes a youth ridiculous, by retaining him with himself, 
when time calls for his departure. Hence Paul says, “But after faith is come, we are no longer 
under a tutor.” We are then no longer under a tutor, “for ye are all sons of God.” Wonderful! 
see how mighty is the power of Faith, and how he unfolds as he proceeds! Before, he showed 
that it made them sons of the Patriarch, “Know therefore,” says he, “that they which be of 
faith, the same are sons of Abraham;” now he proves that they are sons of God also, “For 
ye are all,” says he, “sons of God through faith, which is in Christ Jesus;” by Faith, not by 
the Law. Then, when he has said this great and wonderful thing, he names also the mode 
of their adoption, 

Ver. 27. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, did put on Christ.” 

Why does he not say, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have been 
born of God?” for this was what directly went to prove that they were sons; — because he 
states it in a much more awful point of view; If Christ be the Son of God, and thou hast put 
on Him, thou who hast the Son within thee, and art fashioned after His pattern, hast been 
brought into one kindred and nature with Him. 

Ver. 28. “There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there 
can be no male and female: for ye all are one in Christ Jesus.” 

See what an insatiable soul! for having said, “We are all made children of God through 
Faith,” he does not stop there, but tries to find something more exact, which may serve to 
convey a still closer oneness with Christ. Having said, “ye have put on Christ,” even this 
does not suffice Him, but by way of penetrating more deeply into this union, he comments 
on it thus: “Ye are all One in Christ Jesus,” that is, ye have all one form and one mould, even 
Christ’s. What can be more awful than these words! He that was a Greek, or Jew, or bond- 


96 [“The psedagogus or tutor, frequently a superior slave, was entrusted with the moral supervision of the 
child. Thus his office was quite distinct from that of the SiSdaKaAoq; so the word “Schoolmaster” conveys a 
wrong idea. As well in his inferior rank as in his recognized duty of enforcing discipline, this person was a fit 
emblem of the Mosaic law. There is a very complete illustration of the use which Paul makes of the metaphor 
in Plato (Lysis, p, 208 C).” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


60 


Galatians 3:1 


man yesterday, carries about with him the form, not of an Angel or Archangel, but of the 
Lord of all, yea displays in his own person the Christ. 

Ver. 29. “And if ye are Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise.” 
Here, you observe, he proves what he had before stated concerning the seed of Abra- 

Q7 

ham, — that to him and to his seed the promises were given. 


97 [So Schaff: “Verse 16 must here be kept in view where Christ is declared to be the seed of Abraham. Union 
with Christ constitutes the true spiritual descent from Abraham and secures the inheritance of all the Messianic 
blessings by promise as against inheritance by law.” Pop. Com. in loc. — G.A.] 


61 


Galatians 4:1-3 


Chapter IV. 

Verse 1-3 

“But I say, that so long as the heir is a child, he differeth nothing from a bond-servant, though 
he is lord of all; but is under guardians and stewards, until the term appointed of the 
father. So we also when we were children, were held in bondage under the rudiments of 
the world. ” 

The word child in this place denotes not age but understanding; meaning that God 
had from the beginning designed for us these gifts, but, as we yet continued childish, He let 
us be under the elements of the world, that is, new moons and sabbaths, for these days are 
regulated by the course of sun and moon." If then also now they bring you under law they 
do nothing else but lead you backward now in the time of your perfect age and maturity. 
And see what is the consequence of observing days; the Lord, the Master of the house, the 
Sovereign Ruler, is thereby reduced to the rank of a servant. 

Ver. 4, 5. “But when the fulness of the time came God sent forth His Son, born of a 
woman, under the Law that he might redeem them which were under the Law, that we might 
receive the adoption of sons.” 

Here he states two objects and effects of the Incarnation, deliverance from evil and 
supply of good, things which none could compass but Christ. They are these; deliverance 
from the curse of the Law, and promotion to sonship. Fitly does he say, that we might “re- 
ceive,” “[be paid,]” implying that it was due; 100 for the promise was of old time made for 
these objects to Abraham, as the Apostle has himself shown at great length. And how does 
it appear that we have become sons? he has told us one mode, in that we have put on Christ 
who is the Son; and now he mentions another, in that we have received the Spirit of adoption. 

Ver. 6, 7. “Andbecause ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, 
crying, Abba, Father. So that thou art no longer a bond-servant, but a son; and if a son, then 
an heir through God.” 


98 [“This reference of vrjTtioc; to mental immaturity is quite in opposition to the context.” — Meyer. “The heir 
in his nonage represents the Jewish people and the state of the world before Christ.” — Schaff. So Meyer: “The 
KAqpovopoq vqTtioc; represents the Christians as a body regarded in their earlier pre-Christian condition.” — G.A.] 

99 [This interpretation is rejected by Schaff, Meyer, Ellicott, Lightfoot et al. Schaff says: “‘Elements’ here 
represents the religion before Christ as an elementary religion full of external rites and ceremonies. * * Comp, 
v. 10, for a specimen.” — G.A.] 

100 [“The proposition here (omo) simply means to receive from or at the hands of anyone.” — Meyer. — But 
Lightfoot holds that dtro M(3u>pev cannot be the same as M(3u>p£v, the simple verb. — G.A.] 


62 


Galatians 4:1-3 


Had not we been first made sons, we could not have called Him Father. If then grace 
hath made us freemen instead of slaves, men instead of children, heirs and sons instead of 
aliens, is it not utter absurdity and stupidity to desert this grace, and to turn away backwards? 

Ver. 8, 9. “Howbeit at that time not knowing God, ye were bondage to them which by 
nature are no gods. 101 But now, that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known of 
God, how turn ye back again to the weak and beggarly rudiments whereunto ye desire to 
be in bondage over again.” 

Here turning to the Gentile believers he says that it is an idolatry, this rigid observance 
of days, and now incurs a severe punishment. To enforce this, and inspire them with a 
deeper anxiety, he calls the elements “not by nature Gods.” And his meaning is, — Then in- 
deed, as being benighted and bewildered, ye lay grovelling upon the earth, but now that ye 
have known God or rather are known of Him, how great and bitter will be the chastisement 
ye draw upon you, if, after such a treatment, ye relapse into the same disease. It was not by 
your own pains that ye found out God, but while ye continued in error, He drew you to 
Himself. He says “weak and beggarly rudiments,” in that they avail nothing towards the 
good things held out to us. 

Ver. 10. “Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years.” 

Hence is plain that their teachers were preaching to them not only circumcision, but 
also the feast-days and new-moons. 

Ver. 1 1 . “I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.” 

Observe the tender compassion of the Apostle; they were shaken and he trembles and 
fears. And hence he has put it so as thoroughly to shame them, “I have bestowed labor upon 
you,” saying, as it were, make not vain the labors which have cost me sweat and pain. By 
saying “I fear,” and subjoining the word “lest,” he both inspires alarm, and encourages good 
hope. He says not “I have labored in vain,” but “lest,” which is as much as to say, the wreck 
has not happened, but I see the storm big with it; so I am in fear, yet not in despair; ye have 
the power to set all right, and to return into your former calm. Then, as it were stretching 
out a hand to them thus tempest-tost, he brings himself into the midst, saying, 


101 [“It is clear from the context that here the apostle is not speaking of the Jewish race alone but of the heathen 
world also before Christ. He distinctly refers to their previous idolatrous worship (v. 8.) and describes their ad- 
option of Jewish ritualism as a ‘return’ to the weak and beggarly discipline of childhood. * * * Heathenism had 
been in respect to the ‘ritualistic’ element, which is the meeting- point of Judaism and heathenism, a disciplinary 
training like Judaism. They were made up of precepts and ordinances, as opposed to ‘grace’ and ‘promise,’ and 
in an imperfect way they might do the same work. They might by multiplying transgression and begetting a 
conviction of it prepare the way for liberty in Christ.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

102 [“Paul in the following paragraph (ver. 12-20.) interrupts his argument for a moment by an affectionate 
appeal to the feelings of the Galatians.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 


63 


Galatians 4:1-3 


Ver. 12. “I beseech you, brethren, be as I am; for I am as you are.” 

This is addressed to his Jewish disciples, and he brings his own example forward, to 

induce them thereby to abandon their old customs. Though you had none other for a pattern, 

he says, to look at me only would have sufficed for such a change, and for your taking 

i rn 

courage. Therefore gaze on me; I too was once in your state of mind, especially so; I had 
a burning zeal for the Law; yet afterwards I feared not to abandon the Law, to withdraw 
from that rule of life. And this ye know full well how obstinately I clung hold of Judaism, 
and how with yet greater force I let it go. He does well to place this last in order: for most 
men, though they are given a thousand reasons, and those just ones, are more readily influ- 
enced by that which is like their own case, and more firmly hold to that which they see done 
by others. 

Ver. 12. “Ye did me no wrong.” 

Observe how he again addresses them by a title of honor, which was a reminder moreover 
of the doctrine of grace. Having chid them seriously, and brought things together from all 
quarters, and shown their violations of the Law, and hit them on many sides, he gives in 
and conciliates them speaking more tenderly. For as to do nothing but conciliate causes 
negligence, so to be constantly talked at with sharpness sours a man; so that it is proper to 
observe due proportion everywhere. See then how he excuses to them what he has said, and 
shows that it proceeded not simply because he did not like them, but from anxiety. After 
giving them a deep cut, he pours in this encouragement like oil; and, showing that his words 
were not words of hate or enmity, he reminds them of the love which they had evinced toward 
him, mixing his self-vindication with praises. Therefore he says, “ye did me no wrong.” 

Ver. 13, 14. “But ye know that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel 
unto you the first time. And that which was a temptation in my flesh ye despised not, nor 
rejected.” 

Not to have injured one is indeed no great thing, for no man whatever would choose 
to hurt wantonly and without object to annoy another who had never injured him. But for 
you, not only have ye not injured me, but ye have shown me great and inexpressible kindness, 
and it is impossible that one who has been treated with such attention should speak thus 
from any malevolent motive. My language then cannot be caused by ill-will; it follows, that 


103 [“’Ey£v6pr|v must be supplied in the second clause and not rjpr]vas Chrysostom would understand: Become 
as I, free from Judaism, for I also have become as you. For when I abandoned Judaism I became as a Gentile and 
put myself on the same footing with you.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


64 


Galatians 4:1-3 


it proceeds from affection and solicitude. 104 “Ye did me no wrong; ye know that because of 
an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel unto you.” What can be gentler than this 
holy soul, what sweeter, or more affectionate! And the words he had already used, arose not 
from an unreasoning anger, nor from a passionate emotion, but from much solicitude. And 
why do I say, ye have not injured me? Rather have ye evinced a great and sincere regard for 
me. For “ye know,” he says, “that because of an infirmity of the flesh I preached the Gospel 
unto you; and that which was a temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected.” 
What does he mean? While I preached to you, I was driven about, I was scourged, I suffered 
a thousand deaths, yet ye thought no scorn of me; for this is meant by “that which was a 
temptation to you in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected.” 105 Observe his spiritual skill; 
in the midst of his self- vindication, he again appeals to their feelings by showing what he 
had suffered for their sakes. This however, says he, did not at all offend you, nor did ye reject 
me on account of my sufferings and persecutions; or, as he now calls them, his infirmity 
and temptation. 

Ver. 14. “But ye received me as an Angel of God.” 

Was it not then absurd in them to receive him as an Angel of God, when he was perse- 
cuted and driven about, and then not to receive him when pressing on them what was fitting? 

Ver. 15, 16. “Where then is that gratulation of yourselves? for I bear you witness, that, 
if possible, ye would have plucked out your eyes, and given them to me. So then am I become 
your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” 

Here he shows perplexity and amazement, and desires to learn of themselves the reason 
of their change. Who, says he, hath deceived you, and caused a difference in your disposition 
towards me? Are ye not the same who attended and ministered to me, counting me more 
precious than your own eyes? what then has happened? whence this dislike? whence this 
suspicion? Is it because I have told you the truth? You ought on this very account to pay me 
increased honor and attention; instead of which “I am become your enemy, because I tell 
you the truth,” — for I can find no other reason but this. Observe too what humbleness of 
mind appears in his defence of himself; he proves not by his conduct to them, but by theirs 
to him that his language could not possibly have proceeded from unkind feeling. For he 
says not; How is it supposable that one, who has been scourged and driven about, and ill- 
treated a thousand things for your sakes, should now have schemes against you? But he argues 


104 [‘“Ye did me no wrong’ probably means: I have no personal ground of complaint.” — Schaff and 
Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

105 [“‘On account of some weakness of the flesh,’ means he was compelled by reason of bodily weakness to 
make a stay there which did not form part of his plan, and during that forced sojourn he preached 
there.” — Meyer. — G.A.] “He was detained there by some bodily infirmity or sickness and was thus induced to preach 
the Gospel.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 


65 


Galatians 4:1-3 


from what they had reason to boast of, saying, How can one who has been honored by you, 
and received as an Angel, repay you by conduct the very opposite? 

Ver. 17. “They zealously seek you in no good way; nay, they desire to shut you out that 
ye may seek them.” 

It is a wholesome emulation 106 which leads to an imitation of virtue, but an evil one, 
which seduces from virtue him who is in the right path. And this is the object of those per- 
sons, who would deprive you of perfect knowledge, and impart to you that which is 
mutilated and spurious, and this for no other purpose than that they may occupy the rank 
of teachers, and degrade you, who now stand higher than themselves, to the position of 
disciples. For this is the meaning of the words “that ye may seek them.” But I, says he, desire 
the reverse, that ye may become a model for them, and a pattern of a higher perfection: a 
thing which actually happened when I was present with you. Wherefore he adds, 

Ver. 18. “But it is good to be zealously sought in a good matter at all times, and not only 
when I am present with you.” 

Here he hints that his absence had been the cause of this, and that the true blessing was 
for disciples to hold right opinions not only in the presence but also in the absence of their 
master. But as they had not arrived at this point of perfection, he makes every effort to place 
them there. 

i ns 

Ver. 19. “My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in 

you.” 

Observe his perplexity and perturbation, “Brethren, I beseech you:” “My little children, 
of whom I am again in travail:” He resembles a mother trembling for her children. “Until 
Christ be formed in you.” Behold his paternal tenderness, behold this despondency worthy 
of an Apostle. Observe what a wail he utters, far more piercing than of a woman in trav- 
ail; — Ye have defaced the likeness, ye have destroyed the kinship, ye have changed the form, 


106 [This word does not here mean “they vie with you,” as Chrysostom interprets it, but “they zealously seek 
you or pay court to you,” (1 Cor. xii. 31.). — G.A.] 

107 [“They desire to shut you out” (not from a state of true knowledge, as Chrysostom interprets) but “from 
other teachers,” anti-judaizing teachers, (according to Meyer) or from me (Paul) and so virtually from Christ 
Himself (according to Schaff) or from Christ (Lightfoot). — G.A.] 

108 [“A mode of address common in St. John but nowhere else found in St. Paul.” — Lightfoot. “It expresses 
Paul’s tenderness and their feebleness.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 


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Galatians 4:1-3 


ye need another regeneration and refashioning; 109 nevertheless I call you children, abortions 
and monsters though ye be. However, he does not express himself in this way, but spares 
them, unwilling to strike, and to inflict wound upon wound. Wise physicians do not cure 
those who have fallen into a long sickness all at once, but little by little, lest they should faint 
and die. And so is it with this blessed man; for these pangs were more severe in proportion 
as the force of his affection was stronger. And the offense was of no trivial kind. And as I 
have ever said and ever will say, even a slight fault mars the appearance and distorts the 
figure of the whole. 

Ver. 20. “Yea, I could wish to be present with you now, and to change my voice.” 

Observe his warmth, his inability to refrain himself, and to conceal these his feelings; 
such is the nature of love; nor is he satisfied with words, but desires to be present with them, 
and so, as he says, to change his voice, that is, to change to lamentation, to shed tears, to 
turn every thing into mourning. For he could not by letter show his tears or cries of grief, 
and therefore he ardently desires to be present with them. 

Ver. 20. “For I am perplexed about you.” I know not, says he, what to say, or what to 
think. How is it, that ye who by dangers, which ye endured for the faith’s sake, and by mir- 
acles, which ye performed through faith, had ascended to the highest heaven, should suddenly 
be brought to such a depth of degradation as to be drawn aside to circumcision or sabbaths, 
and should rely wholly upon Judaizers? Hence in the beginning he says, “I marvel that ye 
are so quickly removing,” and here, “I am perplexed about you,” as if he said, What am I to 
speak? What am I to utter? What am I to think? I am bitterly perplexed. And so he must 
needs weep, as the prophets do when in perplexity; for not only admonition but mourning 
also is a form in which solicitous attention is often manifested. And what he said in his 
speech to those at Miletus, “By the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one . . .with 
tears,” he says here also, “and to change my voice.” (Acts xx. 31.) When we find ourselves 
overcome by perplexity and helplessness which come contrary to expectation, we are driven 
to tears; and so Paul admonished them sharply, and endeavored to shame them, then in 
turn soothed them, and lastly he wept. And this weeping is not only a reproof but a bland- 
ishment; it does not exasperate like reproof, nor relax like indulgent treatment, but is a 
mixed remedy, and of great efficacy in the way of exhortation. Having thus softened and 
powerfully engaged their hearts by his tears, he again advances to the contest, 110 and lays 
down a larger proposition, proving that the Law itself was opposed to its being kept. Before, 


109 [“I travailed with you once in bringing you to Christ. By your relapse you have renewed a mother’s pangs 
in me.” — Lightfoot. ‘“Until Christ be formed in you,’ is not an inversion of the metaphor he has begun with, but means, 
‘till you have taken the form of Christ as the embiyo develops into the child.’” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

110 [The digression which contains his “affectionate appeal” (see note above) ends with verse 20, after which 
he resumes — G.A.] 


67 


Galatians 4:1-3 


he produced the example of Abraham, but now (what is more cogent) he brings forward 
the Law itself enjoining them not to keep itself, but to leave off. So that, says he, you must 
abandon the Law, if you would obey it, for this is its own wish: this however he does not say 
expressly, but enforces it in another mode, mixing up with it an account of facts. 

Ver. 21. “Tell me,” he says, “ye that desire to be under the Law, do ye not hear the 
Law?” 111 

He says rightly, “ye that desire,” for the matter was not one of a proper and orderly 
succession of things but of their own unseasonable contentiousness. It is the Book of Creation 
which he here calls the Law, which name he often gives to the whole Old Testament. 

Ver. 22. “For it is written, (Gen. xv. 16.) that Abraham had two sons, one by the hand- 
maid and the other by the freewoman.” 

He returns again to Abraham, not in the way of repetition, but, inasmuch as the Patri- 
arch’s fame was great among the Jews, to show that the types had their origin from thence, 
and that present events were pictured aforetime in him. Having previously shown that the 
Galatians were sons of Abraham, now, in that the Patriarch’s sons were not of equal dignity, 
one being by a bondwoman, the other by a free-woman, he shows that they were not only 
his sons, but sons in the same sense as he that was freeborn and noble. Such is the power of 
Faith. 

Ver. 23. “Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the 
freewoman is born through promise.” 

What is the meaning of “after the flesh?” Having said that Faith united us to Abraham, 
and it having seemed incredible to his hearers, that those who were not begotten by Abraham 
should be called his sons, he proves that this paradox had actually happened long ago; for 
that Isaac, born not according to the order of nature, nor the law of marriage, nor the power 
of the flesh, was yet truly his own son. He was the issue of bodies that were dead, and of a 
womb that was dead; his conception was not by the flesh, nor his birth by the seed, for the 
womb was dead both through age and barrenness, but the Word of God fashioned Him. 
Not so in the case of the bondman; He came by virtue of the laws of nature, and after the 
manner of marriage. Nevertheless, he that was not according to the flesh was more honorable 
than he that was born after the flesh. Therefore let it not disturb you that ye are not born 
after the flesh; for from the very reason that ye are not so born, are ye most of all Abraham’s 
kindred. The being born after the flesh renders one not more honorable, but less so, for a 
birth not after the flesh is more marvellous and more spiritual. And this is plain from the 
case of those who were born of old time; Ishmael, for instance, who was born according to 


111 [“The Apostle resumes his argument for the superiority of the Gospel over the Law and illustrates the 
difference of the two by an allegorical interpretation of the history of Hagar and Sarah.” — Schaff. — G.A.] 


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the flesh, was not only a bondman, but was cast out of his father’s house; but Isaac, who was 
born according to the promise, being a true son and free, was lord of all. 

119 

Ver. 24. “Which things contain an allegory.” 

Contrary to usage, he calls a type an allegory; his meaning is as follows; this history not 
only declares that which appears on the face of it, but announces somewhat farther, whence 
it is called an allegory. And what hath it announced? no less than all the things now present. 

Ver. 24. “For these women,” he says, “are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing 
children unto bondage, which is Hagar.” 

“These:” who? the mothers of those children, Sarah and Hagar; and what are they? Two 
covenants, two laws. As the names of the women were given in the history, he abides by this 
designation of the two races, showing how much follows from the very names. How from 
the names? 

Ver. 25. “Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia:” 

The bond-woman was called Hagar, and “Hagar” is the word for Mount Sinai in the 
language of that country. So that it is necessary that all who are born of the Old Covenant 

should be bondmen, for that mountain where the Old Covenant was delivered hath a name 
in common with the bondwoman. And it includes Jerusalem, for this is the meaning of, 

Ver. 25. “And answereth to Jerusalem that now is.” 

That is, it borders on, and is contiguous to it. 114 

Ver. 25. “For she is in bondage with her children.” 

What follows from hence? Not only that she was in bondage and brought forth bondmen, 
but that this Covenant is so too, whereof the bondwoman was a type. For Jerusalem is adja- 


112 [“The story of Hagar and Sarah has another (namely a figurative, typical) meaning besides (not instead 
of) the literal or historical. Paul does not deny the fact but makes it the bearer of a general idea which was more 
fully expressed in two covenants. He uses allegorical here in a sense similar to the word “typical” in 1 Cor. x. 
11.” — Schaff. — G.A.] [See on this difficult passage Schaffs Excursus in Com. and Lightfoot’s Excursus xiii. Com. p. 
368.— G.A.] 

113 [So Meyer: “In Arabia the name Hagar (to "Ayap) signifies Mt. Sinai.” But Schaff says: “It cannot be sat- 
isfactorily proven that the name Hagar was an Arabic designation for Mt. Sinai, as the testimonies of Chrysostom 
and the traveler Harant are isolated and unconfirmed. The shorter reading, ‘For Sinai is a mountain in Arabia’ 
(to yap Siva opoq ccmv ev Trj ’Apa(31& 139') given by the Sinaitic and other mss. and preferred by Lachmann, 
Tischendorf and Lightfoot ( Excursus p. 361 of Com.) is quite intelligible and easily gives rise to the longer 
reading.” — G.A.] 

114 [“This interpretation of Chrysostom is hardly the right one. The subject of auvaroixet is Hagar and not 
Mt. Sinai — a view which runs counter to the context. It means that Hagar belongs to the same category with the 
present Jerusalem, is like it in that she was a bondwoman as Jerusalem with its children is also in bondage.” 
Meyer. — G.A.] 


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cent to the mountain of the same name with the bondwoman, and in this mountain the 
Covenant was delivered. Now where is the type of Sarah? 

Ver. 26. “But Jerusalem that is above is free.” 

Those therefore, who are born of her are not bondmen. Thus the type of the Jerusalem 
below was Hagar, as is plain from the mountain being so called; but of that which is above 
is the Church. Nevertheless he is not content with these types, but adds the testimony of 
Isaiah to what he has spoken. Having said that Jerusalem which is above “is our Mother,” 
and having given that name to the Church, he cites the suffrage of the Prophet in his favor, 
Ver. 27. “Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not, break forth and cry, thou that travailest 
not, for more are the children of the desolate than of her which hath the husband.” (Isa. liv. 
1 .) 

Who is this who before was “barren,” and “desolate?” Clearly it is the Church of the 
Gentiles, 115 that was before deprived of the knowledge of God? Who, “she which hath the 
husband?” plainly the Synagogue. Yet the barren woman surpassed her in the number of 
her children, for the other embraces one nation, but the children of the Church have filled 
the country of the Greeks and of the Barbarians, the earth and sea, the whole habitable 
world. Observe how Sarah by acts, and the Prophet by words, have described the events 
about to befal us. Observe too, that he whom Isaiah called barren, Paul hath proved to have 
many children, which also happened typically in the case of Sarah. For she too, although 
barren, became the mother of a numerous progeny. This however does not suffice Paul, but 
he carefully follows out the mode whereby the barren woman became a mother, that in this 
particular likewise the type might harmonize with the truth. Wherefore he adds 
Ver. 28. “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” 

It is not merely that the Church was barren like Sarah, or became a mother of many 
children like her, but she bore them in the way Sarah did. As it was not nature but the 
promise of God which rendered Sarah a mother, [for the word of God which said, “At the 
time appointed I will return unto thee, and Sarah shall have a son,” (Gen. xviii. 14.) this 
entered into the womb and formed the babe,] so also in our regeneration it is not nature, 
but the Words of God spoken by the Priest, 116 (the faithful know them,) which in the Bath 
of water as in a sort of womb, form and regenerate him who is baptized. 

Wherefore if we are sons of the barren woman, then are we free. But what kind of free- 
dom, it might be objected, is this, when the Jews seize and scourge the believers, and those 



115 [“Against this view of Chrysostom it may be urged that fjru; ecm prjrqp qpwv (which is our mother) is 
proved by (yap). The passage of the O.T. quoted in v. 27 and the qpwv includes ‘all’ Christians.” — Meyer. (See 
his long and good note in loc .) — G.A.] 

116 [“Chrysostom assumes the prevailing conception of a real priesthood and sacrifice, baptismal regeneration, 
etc.” — Schaff, Prolegomena, p. 8. — G.A.] 


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who have this pretence of liberty are persecuted? for these things then occurred, in the per- 
secution of the faithful. Neither let this disturb you, he replies, this also is anticipated in the 
type, for Isaac, who was free, was persecuted by Ishmael the bondman. Wherefore he adds, 
Ver. 29, 30. “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born 
after the Spirit, even so it is now. Howbeit what saith the Scripture? (Gen. xxi. 10.) Cast out 
the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the 
freewoman.” 

What! does all this consolation consist in showing that freemen are persecuted by bond- 
men? By no means, he says, I do not stop here, listen to what follows, and then, if you be 
not pusillanimous under persecution, you will be sufficiently comforted. And what is it that 
follows? “Cast out the son of the handmaid, for he shall not inherit with the son of the 
freewoman.” Behold the reward of tyranny for a season, and of reckleness out of season! 
the son is cast out of his father’s house, and becomes, together with his mother, an exile and 
a wanderer. And consider too the wisdom of the remark; for he says not that he was cast 
forth merely because he persecuted, but that he should not be heir. For this punishment 
was not exacted from him on account of his temporary persecution, (for that would have 
been of little moment, and nothing to the point,) but he was not suffered to participate in 
the inheritance provided for the son. And this proves that, putting the persecution aside, 
this very thing had been typified from the beginning, and did not originate in the persecution, 
but in the purpose of God. Nor does he say, “the son of Abraham shall not be heir,” but, 
“the son of the handmaid,” distinguishing him by his inferior descent. Now Sarah was barren, 
and so is the Gentile Church; observe how the type is preserved in every particular, as 
the former, through all the by-gone years, conceived not, and in extreme old age became a 
mother, so the latter, when the fulness of time is come, brings forth. And this the prophets 
have proclaimed, saying, “Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou 
that travailest not; for more are the children of the desolate than of her which hath the 
husband.” And hereby they intend the Church; for she knew not God, but as soon as she 

1 i o 

knew Him, she surpassed the fruitful synagogue. 

Ver. 3 1 . “Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid but of the freewoman.” 
He turns and discusses this on all sides, desiring to prove that what had taken place was 
no novelty, but had been before typified many ages ago. How then can it be otherwise than 


117 [See note above on this interpretation. — G.A.] 

118 [“Before the emergence of the Christian people of God, the heavenly Jerusalem was still unpeopled, 
childless, orelpa, ‘barren,’ ou TiKrouaa ‘not bearing,’ and so like Sarah before she became the mother of Isaac. 
But with the emergence of the Christian people of God this heavenly Jerusalem has become a fruitful mother 
richer in children than the Jerusalem that now is.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


71 


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absurd for those who had been set apart so long and who had obtained freedom, willingly 
to subject themselves to the yoke of bondage? 

Next he states another inducement to them to abide in his doctrine. 


72 



Galatians 5:1 


Chapter V. 

Verse 1 

“With freedom did Christ set us free; standfast therefore 119 

Have ye wrought your own deliverance, that ye run back again to the dominion ye were 
under before? It is Another who hath redeemed you, it is Another who hath paid the ransom 
for you. Observe in how many ways he leads them away from the error of Judaism; by 
showing, first, that it was the extreme of folly for those, who had become free instead of 
slaves, to desire to become slaves instead of free; secondly, that they would be convicted of 
neglect and ingratitude to their Benefactor, in despising Him who had delivered, and loving 
him who had enslaved them; thirdly, that it was impossible. For Another having once for 
all redeemed all of us from it, the Law ceases to have any sway. By the word, “stand fast,” 
he indicates their vacillation. 

Ver. 1. “And be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.” 

By the word “yoke” he signifies to them the burdensomeness of such a course, and by 
the word “again” he points out their utter senselessness. Had ye never experienced this 
burden, ye would not have deserved so severe a censure, but for you who by trial have learnt 
how irksome this yoke is, again to subject yourself to it, is justly unpardonable. 

Ver. 2. “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit 
you nothing.” 

Lo, what a threat! reasonably then did he anathematize even angels. How then shall 
Christ profit them nothing? for he has not supported this by argument, but only declared 
it, the credence due to his authority, compensating, as it were, for all subsequent proof. 
Wherefore he sets out by saying, “Behold, I Paul say unto you,” which is the expression of 
one who has confidence in what he asserts. We will subjoin what we can ourselves as to how 
Christ shall profit nothing them who are circumcised. 

He that is circumcised is circumcised for fear of the Law, and he who fears the Law, 
distrusts the power of grace, and he who distrusts can receive no benefit from that which is 
distrusted. Or again thus, he that is circumcised makes the Law of force; but thus considering 
it to be of force and yet transgressing it in the greater part while keeping it in the lesser, he 


119 [The text of this verse is not settled. The textus receptus has rrj £A£u0£pl& 139’ ouv r| xpioroi; rpactc; 
f|A.£u0£pu>a£ arrjKETE, etc. Chrysostom has rrj yap £AEu0£pl& 139- f| xpiorop upa<; e^rjyopaaE, arrjKEtE, etc. W. 
& H. have rrj £A.£u0£pt& 139’ ripac; xpiorot; r|A£u0£pu>a£v artjKETE ouv Kai, etc., with Aleph, A. B. C. Rev. Ver. 
But W. & H. suspect there is some primitive error. Lightfoot joins rfj £AEU0£pi& 139’, with rfjp eAeuOepok; of the preceding 
verse and retains the relative f|, making it read; We are sons of the free woman with the freedom wherewith Christ freed 
us. Com. in loc. and Excursus p. 371. 


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puts himself again under the curse. But how can he be saved who submits himself to the 
curse, and repels the liberty which is of Faith? If one may say what seems a paradox, such 
an one believes neither Christ nor the Law, but stands between them, desiring to benefit 
both by one and the other, whereas he will reap fruit from neither. Having said that Christ 

I on 

shall profit them nothing, he lays down the proof of it shortly and sententiously, thus: 

191 

Ver. 3. “Yea, I testify again to every man that receiveth circumcision that he is a 
debtor to do the whole Law.” 

i n-o 

That you may not suppose that this is spoken from ill-will , I say not to you alone, he 
says, but to every one who receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law. 
The parts of the Law are linked one to the other. As he who from being free has enrolled 
himself as a slave, no longer does what he pleases, but is bound by all the laws of slavery, so 
in the case of the Law, if you take upon you a small portion of it, and submit to the yoke, 
you draw down upon yourself its whole domination. And so it is in a worldly inheritance: 
he who touches no part of it, is free from all matters which are consequent on the heirship 
to the deceased, but if he takes a small portion, though not the whole, yet by that part he 
has rendered himself liable for every thing. And this occurs in the Law, not only in the way 
I have mentioned, but in another also, for Legal observances are linked together. For example; 
Circumcision has sacrifice connected with it, and the observance of days; sacrifice again has 
the observance both of day and of place; place has the details of endless purifications; puri- 
fications involve a perfect swarm of manifold observances. For it is unlawful for the unclean 
to sacrifice, to enter the holy shrines, to do any other such act. Thus the Law introduces 
many things even by the one commandment. If then thou art circumcised, but not on the 
eighth day, or on the eighth day, but no sacrifice is offered, or a sacrifice is offered, but not 
in the prescribed place, or in the prescribed place, but not the accustomed objects, or if the 
accustomed objects, but thou be unclean, or if clean yet not purified by proper rules, every 

ii-l 

thing is frustrated. Wherefore he says, “that he is a debtor to the whole Law.” Fulfil not 
a part, but the whole, if the Law is of force; but if it be not of force, not even a part. 


120 [The following verse does not introduce proof that Christ shall profit them nothing, but leads on to more 
detailed information and so is introduced by 5e, autem. So Meyer; though Lightfoot makes 5e adversative to the 
idea of wcpeArjoet, and so Ellicott. Rev. Ver. agrees with Meyer’s view. — G.A.] 

121 [“Again refers to ‘I say’ in preceding sentences.” Schaff, Lightfoot, Ellicott. Meyer says, “It calls to the re- 
membrance of his readers his last presence,” (second visit.) — G.A.] 

122 [‘“To every man’ stands in a climactic relation to foregoing uplv remorselessly embracing all; that no one 
may think himself excluded. Hence Chrysostom’s view is wrong.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

123 [Perhaps Paul’s reason for his statement that every one who suffers himself to be circumcised is a debtor 
to keep the whole Law is this Scripture which he quotes in iii. 10 : Cursed is he that continueth not in all the 
things that are written etc. — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


Ver. 4. “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the Law; ye are fallen 
away from grace.” 

Having established his point, he at length declares their danger of the severest punish- 
ment. When a man recurs to the Law, which cannot save him, and falls from grace, what 
remains but an inexorable retribution, the Law being powerless, and grace rejecting him? 

Thus having aggravated their alarm, and disquieted their mind, and shown them all the 
shipwreck they were about to suffer, he opens to them the haven of grace which was near 
at hand. This is ever his wont, and he shows that in this quarter salvation is easy and secure, 
subjoining the words, 

Ver. 5. “For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.” 124 

We need none of those legal observances, he says; faith suffices to obtain for us the 
Spirit, and by Him righteousness, and many and great benefits. 

Ver. 6. “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum- 

1 or 

cision; but faith working through love.” 

Observe the great boldness with which he now encounters them; Let him that hath put 
on Christ, he says, no longer be careful about such matters. Having before said that Circum- 
cision was hurtful, how is it that he now considers it indifferent? It is indifferent as to those 
who had it previously to the Faith, but not as to those who are circumcised after the Faith 
was given. Observe too the view in which he places it, by setting it by the side of Uncircum- 
cision; it is Faith that makes the difference. As in the selection of wrestlers, whether they be 
hook-nosed or flat-nosed, black or white, is of no importance in their trial, it is only necessary 
to seek that they be strong and skilful; so all these bodily accidents do not injure one who 
is to be enrolled under the New Covenant, nor does their presence assist him. 

What is the meaning of “working through love?” Here he gives them a hard blow, 
by showing that this error had crept in because the love of Christ had not been rooted 
within them. For to believe is not all that is required, but also to abide in love. It is as if he 
had said, Had ye loved Christ as ye ought, ye would not have deserted to bondage, nor 


124 [“The Holy Spirit is the divine ‘agent’ and faith is the subjective ‘source’ of our expectation.” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

125 [“Circumcision and uncircumcision are circumstances of no effect or avail in Christianity; and yet they 
were in Galatia the points on which the disturbance turned,” — Meyer, — G.A.] 

126 [“How necessary it was for the Galatians that prominence should be given to the activity of faith ‘in love’ 
may be seen from verses 15, 20, 26. The passive view of evepyoupevr| (wrought through love) as held by some 
Fathers and by Catholics is erroneous. In New Test. evepysToSai is always middle: faith ‘which is operative 
through love.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] Lightfoot says: “The words 5i aydnriq EVEpyoupEvri bridge over the gulf which seems 
to separate the language of St. Paul and St. James. Both assert a principle of practical energy as opposed to a barren the- 
ory.” — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


abandoned Him who redeemed you, nor treated with contumely Him who gave you freedom. 
Here he also hints at those who have plotted against them, implying that they would not 
have dared to do so, had they felt affection towards them. He wishes too by these words to 
correct their course of life. 

Ver. 7. Ye were running well; who did hinder you? 

This is not an interrogation, but an expression of doubt and sorrow. How hath such a 
course been cut short? who hath been able to do this? ye who were superior to all and in the 
rank of teachers, have not even continued in the position of disciples. What has happened? 
who could do this? these are rather the words of one who is exclaiming and lamenting, as 
he said before, “Who did bewitch you?” (Gal. iii. 1.) 

Ver. 8. “This persuasion came not of him that calleth you.” 

He who called you, called you not to such fluctuations, he did not lay down a Law, that 
you should judaize. Then, that no one might object, “Why do you thus magnify and aggravate 
the matter by your words; one commandment only of the Law have we kept, and yet you 
make this great outcry?” hear how he terrifies them, not by things present but future in these 
words: 

Ver. 9. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” 

And thus this slight error, he says, if not corrected, will have power (as the leaven has 
with the lump) to lead you into complete Judaism. 

Ver. 10. “I have confidence to you-ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise 
minded.” 

He does not say, “ye are not minded,” but, “ye will not be minded;” that is, you will be 
set right. And how does he know this? he says not “I know,” but “I trust in God, and invoking 
His aid in order to your correction, I am in hopes;” and he says, not merely, “I have confid- 
ence in the Lord,” but, “I have confidence towards you in the Lord.” Everywhere he connects 
complaint with his praises; here it is as if he had said, I know my disciples, I know your 
readiness to be set right. I have good hopes, partly because of the Lord who suffers nothing, 
however trivial, to perish, partly because of you who are quickly to recover yourselves. At 
the same time he exhorts them to use diligence on their own parts, it not being possible to 
obtain aid from God, if our own efforts are not contributed. 

Ver. 10. “But he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.” 

Not only by words of encouragement, but by uttering a curse or a prophecy against 
their teachers, he applies to them an incentive. And observe that he never mentions the 
name of these plotters, that they might not become more shameless. His meaning is as follows. 
Not because “ye will be none otherwise minded,” are the authors of your seduction relieved 
from punishment. They shall be punished; for it is not proper that the good conduct of the 


127 [The words <xA.r|0e(a 7t£i0£a0dt are wanting in Chrysostom’s text. — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


one should become an encouragement to the evil disposition of the other. This is said that 
they might not make a second attempt upon others. And he says not merely, “he that 
troubleth,” but, “whosoever he be,” in the way of aggravation. 

Ver. 11. “But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted?” 

Observe how clearly he exonerates himself from the charge, that in every place he 
judaized and played the hypocrite in his preaching. Of this he calls them as witnesses; for 
ye know, he says, that my command to abandon the Law was made the pretext for persecuting 
me. “If I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? for this is the only charge which 
they of the Jewish descent have to bring against me. Had I permitted them to receive the 
Faith, still retaining the customs of their fathers, neither believers nor unbelievers would 
have laid snares for me, seeing that none of their own usages were disturbed. What then! 
did he not preach circumcision? did he not circumcise Timothy? Truly he did. How then 
can he say, “I preach it not?” Here observe his accuracy; he says not, “I do not perform cir- 
cumcision,” but, “I preach it not,” that is, I do not bid men so to believe. Do not therefore 
consider it any confirmation of your doctrine, for though I circumcised, I did not preach 
circumcision. 

Ver. 11. “Then hath the stumbling block of the cross been done away.” 

That is, if this which ye assert be true, the obstacle, the hindrance, is removed; for not 
even the Cross was so great an offence to the Jews, as the doctrine that their father’s customs 
ought not to be obeyed. When they brought Stephen before the council, they said not that 
this man adores the Crucified, but that he speaks “against this holy place and the Law.” (Acts 
vi. 13.) And it was of this they accused Jesus, that He broke the Law. Wherefore Paul says, 
If Circumcision be conceded, the strife you are involved in is appeased; hereafter no enmity 
to the Cross and our preaching remains. But why do they bring this charge against us, while 
waiting day after day to murder us? it is because I brought an uncircumcised man into the 
Temple (Acts xxi. 29.) that they fell upon me. Am I then, he says, so senseless, after giving 
up the point of Circumcision, vainly and idly to expose myself to such injuries, and to place 
such a stumbling-block before the Cross? For ye observe, that they attack us for nothing 
with such vehemence as about Circumcision. Am I then so senseless as to suffer affliction 
for nothing at all, and to give offence to others? He calls it the offence of the Cross, because 
it was enjoined by the doctrine of the Cross; and it was this which principally offended the 
Jews, and hindered their reception of the Cross, namely, the command to abandon the usages 
of their fathers. 


128 [“The false teachers had spread the malicious report that Paul himself preached circumcision because he 
practiced it in the case of Timothy. But this was a measure of expediency and charity and not a surrender of 
principle.” — Schaff. “This calumny was sufficiently absurd to admit of his dismissing it, as he does here, with all brevity 
and with what a striking experimental proof!” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


Ver. 12. “I would that they which unsettle you, would even cut themselves off.” 

i on 

Observe how bitterly he speaks here against their deceivers. At the outset he directed 

his charge against those who were deceived, and called them foolish, once and again. Now, 
having sufficiently corrected and instructed them, he turns to their deceivers. And you 
should remark his wisdom in the manner in which he admonishes and chastens the former 
as his own children, and as capable of receiving correction, but their deceivers he cuts off, 
as aliens and incurably depraved. And this he does, partly, when he says, “he shall bear his 
judgment whosoever he be;” partly when he utters the imprecation against them, “I would 
that they which unsettle you would even cut themselves off.” And he says well “that unsettle 
you.” For they had compelled them to abandon their own fatherland, their liberty, and their 
heavenly kindred, and to seek an alien and foreign one; they had cast them out of Jerusalem 
which is above and free, and compelled them to wander forth as captives and emigrants. 
On this account he curses them; and his meaning is as follows, For them I have no concern, 
“A man that is heretical after the first and second admonition refuse.” (Tit. iii. 10.) If they 
will, let them not only be circumcised, but mutilated. Where then are those who dare to 
mutilate themselves ; seeing that they draw down the Apostolic curse, and accuse the 
workmanship of God, and take part with the Manichees? For the latter call the body a 
treacherous thing, and from the evil principle; and the former by their acts give countenance 
to these wretched doctrines, cutting off the member as being hostile and treacherous. Ought 
they not much rather to put out the eyes, for it is through the eyes that desire enters the 
soul? But in truth neither the eye nor any other part of us is to blame, but the depraved will 
only. But if you will not allow this, why do you not mutilate the tongue for blasphemy, the 
hands for rapine, the feet for their evil courses, in short, the whole body? For the ear en- 
chanted by the sound of a flute hath often enervated the soul; and the perception of a sweet 
perfume by the nostrils hath bewitched the mind, and made it frantic for pleasure. Yet this 
would be extreme wickedness and satanic madness. The evil spirit, ever delighting in 
slaughter, hath seduced them to crush the instrument, as if its Maker had erred, whereas it 


129 [“The vivid realization of the doings of his opponents, who were not ashamed to resort even to such 
falsehood, now wrings from his soul a strong and bitterly sarcastic wish of holy indignation.” — Meyer. Paul 
wishes that the circumcisers would not stop with circumcision but go beyond it to mutilation (make themselves eunuchs) 
like the priests of Cybele. A severe irony and similar to the one in Philip, iii. 2, 3, where Paul calls the boasters of circum- 
cision “the Concision.” Self mutilation was a recognized form of heathen worship especially in Pessinus in Galatia and 
therefore quite familiar to the readers. Thus by their glorying in the flesh the Galatians relapsed into their former hea- 
thenism, — Schaff and Lightfoot. The Revised Version here has, “would even cut themselves off,” the American Committee 
has, “would go beyond circumcision.” — G.A.] 

130 [’AnoKOnreiv eautouq. Chrysostom here, as often, “goes off at a word” into a digression on a subject 
which is only remotely suggested by the passage in hand. — G.A.] 


78 


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was only necessary to correct the unruly passion of the soul. How then does it happen, one 
may say, that when the body is pampered, lust is inflamed? Observe here too that it is the 
sin of the soul, for to pamper the flesh is not an act of the flesh but of the soul, for if the soul 
choose to mortify it, it would possess absolute power over it. But what you do is just the 
same as if one seeing a man lighting a fire, and heaping on fuel, and setting fire to a house, 
were to blame the fire, instead of him who kindled it, because it had caught this heap of fuel, 
and risen to a great height. Yet the blame would attach not to the fire but to the one who 
kindled it; for it was given for the purpose of dressing food, affording light, and other like 
ministries, not for burning houses. In like manner desire is implanted for the rearing of 
families and the ensuring of life, not for adultery, or fornication, or lasciviousness; that a 
man may become a father, not an adulterer; a lawful husband, not a seducer; leaving heirs 
after him, not doing damage to another man’s. For adultery arises not from nature, but from 
wantonness against nature, which prescribes the use not the misuse. These remarks I have 
not made at random, but as a prelude to a dispute, as skirmishing against those who assert 
that the workmanship of God is evil, and who neglecting the sloth of the soul, madly inveigh 
against the body, and traduce our flesh, whereof Paul afterwards discourses, accusing not 
the flesh, but devilish thoughts. 

Ver. 13. “For ye, brethren, were called for freedom; only use not your freedom for an 
occasion to the flesh.” 

i o 1 

Henceforward he appears to digress into a moral discourse, but in a new manner, 
which does not occur in any other of his Epistles. For all of them are divided into two parts, 
and in the first he discusses doctrine, in the last the rule of life, but here, after having entered 
upon the moral discourse, he again unites with it the doctrinal part. For this passage has 
reference to doctrine in the controversy with the Manichees. What is the meaning of, 
“Use not your freedom for an occasion to the flesh?” Christ hath delivered us, he says, from 
the yoke of bondage, He hath left us free to act as we will, not that we may use our liberty 
for evil, but that we may have ground for receiving a higher reward, advancing to a higher 
philosophy. Lest any one should suspect, from his calling the Law over and over again a 
yoke of bondage, and a bringing on of the curse, that his object in enjoining an abandonment 
of the Law, was that one might live lawlessly, he corrects this notion, and states his object 
to be, not that our course of life might be lawless, but that our philosophy might surpass 
the Law. For the bonds of the Law are broken, and I say this not that our standard may be 


131 [This is not a digression. It is in strict continuity with the preceeding context and gives a reason for the 
indignant expression of the foregoing sentence. “They are defeating the very purpose of your calling: ye were called 
for liberty and not for bondage.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

132 [On the doctrine of the Manichees see Schaff Church History vol. ii. p. 498-508, where a full account of 
the literature is given also. — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


lowered, but that it may be exalted. For both he who commits fornication, and he who leads 
a virgin life, pass the bounds of the Law, but not in the same direction; the one is led away 
to the worse, the other is elevated to the better; the one transgresses the Law, the other 
transcends it. Thus Paul says that Christ hath removed the yoke from you, not that ye may 
prance and kick, but that though without the yoke ye may proceed at a well-measured pace. 
And next he shows the mode whereby this may be readily effected; and what is this mode? 
he says, 

1 "30 

Ver. 13. “But through love be servants one to another.” 

Here again he hints that strife and party-spirit, love of rule and presumptousness, had 
been the causes of their error, for the desire of rule is the mother of heresies. By saying, “Be 
servants one to another,” he shows that the evil had arisen from this presumptuous and ar- 
rogant spirit, and therefore he applies a corresponding remedy. As your divisions arose 
from your desire to domineer over each other, “serve one another;” thus will ye be reconciled 
again. However, he does not openly express their fault, but he openly tells them its corrective, 
that through this they may become aware of that; as if one were not to tell an immodest 
person of his immodesty, but were continually to exhort him to chastity. He that loves his 
neighbor as he ought, declines not to be servant to him more humbly than any servant. As 
fire, brought into contact with wax, easily softens it, so does the warmth of love dissolve all 
arrogance and presumption more powerfully than fire. Wherefore he says not, “love one 
another,” merely, but, “be servants one to another,” thus signifying the intensity of the affec- 
tion. When the yoke of the Law was taken off them that they might not caper off and away 
another was laid on, that of love, stronger than the former, yet far lighter and pleasanter; 
and, to point out the way to obey it, he adds; 

Ver. 14. “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself.” 

Seeing that they made so much of the Law, he says, “If you wish to fulfill it, do not be 
circumcised, for it is fulfilled not in circumcision but in love.” Observe how he cannot forget 
his grief, but constantly touches upon what troubled him, even when launched into his 
moral discourse. 

Ver. 15. “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one 
of another.” 

That he may not distress them, he does not assert this, though he knew it was the case, 134 
but mentions it ambiguously. For he does not say, “Inasmuch as ye bite one another,” nor 
again does he assert, in the clause following, that they shall be consumed by each other; but 


133 [“An ingenious juxtaposition of ‘freedom’ and brotherly ‘service’ in that freedom,” — Meyer. “Ye were 
called for ‘freedom,’ but through love make yourselves willing 'bond-servants’ to each other.” — G.A.] 

134 [See Lightfoot, Introduction, p. 39. Note 3. — G.A.] 


80 


Galatians 5:1 


“take heed that ye be not consumed one of another,” and this is the language of apprehension 
and warning, not of condemnation. And the words which he uses are expressly significant; 
he says not merely, “ye bite,” which one might do in a passion, but also “ye devour,” which 
implies a bearing of malice. To bite is to satisfy the feeling of anger, but to devour is a proof 
of the most savage ferocity. The biting and devouring he speaks of are not bodily, but of a 
much more cruel kind; for it is not such an injury to taste the flesh of man, as to fix one’s 
fangs in his soul. In proportion as the soul is more precious than the body, is damage to it 
more serious. “Take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” For those who commit 
injury and lay plots, do so in order to destroy others; therefore he says, Take heed that this 
evil fall not on your own heads. For strife and dissensions are the ruin and destruction as 
well of those who admit as of those who introduce them, and eats out every thing worse 
than a moth does. 

Ver. 16. “But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” 

Here he points out another path which makes duty easy, and secures what had been 
said, a path whereby love is generated, and which is fenced in by love. For nothing, nothing 
I say, renders us so susceptible of love, as to be spiritual, and nothing is such an inducement 
to the Spirit to abide in us, as the strength of love. Therefore he says, “Walk by the Spirit 
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh:” having spoken of the cause of the disease, he 
likewise mentions the remedy which confers health. And what is this, what is the destruction 
of the evils we have spoken of, but the life in the Spirit? hence he says, “Walk by the Spirit 
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” 

Ver. 17. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these 
are contrary the one to the other: that ye may not do the things that ye would.” 

Here some make the charge that the Apostle has divided man into two parts, and that 
he states the essence of which he is compounded to be conflicting with itself, and that the 
body has a contest with the soul. But this is not so, most certainly; for by “the flesh,” he does 
not mean the body; if he did, what would be the sense of the clause immediately following, 
“for it lusteth,” he says, “against the Spirit?” yet the body moves not, but is moved, is not an 
agent, but is acted upon. How then does it lust, for lust belongs to the soul not to the body, 
for in another place it is said, “My soul longeth,” (Ps. lxxxiv. 2.) and, “Whatsoever thy soul 
desireth, I will even do it for thee,” (1 Sam. xx. 4.) and, “Walk not according to the desires 
of thy heart,” and, “So panteth my soul.” (Ps. xlii. 1.) Wherefore then does Paul say, “the 
flesh lusteth against the Spirit?” he is wont to call the flesh, not the natural body but the 


135 [“Paul returns to the warning in ver. 13, not to abuse their freedom for an occasion to the ‘flesh’” — Schaff. 
“In verse 13he had warned them against using liberty for an occasion to the flesh; now, ver. 16, he shows them how they 
are to accomplish that end and this introduces the deadly and interminable antagonism between the spirit and the 
flesh.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


81 


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depraved will, as where he says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,” (Rom. viii. 8, 
9.) and again, “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.” What then? Is the flesh to be 
destroyed? was not he who thus spoke clothed with flesh? such doctrines are not of the flesh, 
but from the Devil, for “he was a murderer from the beginning.” (John viii. 44.) What then 
is his meaning? it is the earthly mind, slothful and careless, that he here calls the flesh, and 
this is not an accusation of the body, but a charge against the slothful soul. The flesh is an 
instrument, and no one feels aversion and hatred to an instrument, but to him who abuses 
it. For it is not the iron instrument but the murderer, whom we hate and punish. But it may 
be said that the very calling of the faults of the soul by the name of the flesh is in itself an 
accusation of the body. And I admit that the flesh is inferior to the soul, yet it too is good, 
for that which is inferior to what is good may itself be good, but evil is not inferior to good, 
but opposed to it. Now if you are able to prove to me that evil originates from the body, you 
are at liberty to accuse it; but if your endeavor is to turn its name into a charge against it, 
you ought to accuse the soul likewise. For he that is deprived of the truth is called “the nat- 
ural man.” (1 Cor. ii. 14.) and the race of demons “the spirits of wickedness.” (Eph. vi. 
12 .) 

Again, the Scripture is wont to give the name of the Flesh to the Mysteries of the 
Eucharist, and to the whole Church, calling them the Body of Christ. (Col. i. 24.) Nay, to 
induce you to give the name of blessings to the things of which the flesh is the medium, you 
have only to imagine the extinction of the senses, and you will find the soul deprived of all 
discernment, and ignorant of what it before knew. For if the power of God is since “the 
creation of the world clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made,” (Rom. 
i. 20.) how could we see them without eyes? and if “faith cometh of hearing,” (Rom. x. 17.) 
how shall we hear without ears? and preaching depends on making circuits wherein the 
tongue and feet are employed. “For how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Rom. x. 
15.) In the same way writing is performed by means of the hands. Do you not see that the 
ministry of the flesh produces for us a thousand benefits? In his expression, “the flesh lusteth 
against the Spirit,” he means two mental states. For these are opposed to each other, namely 
virtue and vice, not the soul and the body. Were the two latter so opposed they would be 
destructive of one another, as fire of water, and darkness of light. But if the soul cares for 
the body, and takes great forethought on its account, and suffers a thousand things in order 
not to leave it, and resists being separated from it, and if the body too ministers to the soul, 
and conveys to it much knowledge, and is adapted to its operations, how can they be contrary, 
and conflicting with each other? For my part, I perceive by their acts that they are not only 
not contrary but closely accordant and attached one to another. It is not therefore of these 
that he speaks as opposed to each other, but he refers to the contest of bad and good prin- 


136 [That is, the “psychical” man, from vjwxrj, the soul. — G.A.] 


82 


Galatians 5:1 


ciples. (Compare Rom. vii. 23.) To will and not to will belongs to the soul; wherefore he 
says, “these are contrary the one to the other,” that you may not suffer the soul to proceed 
in its evil desires. For he speaks this like a Master and Teacher in a threatening way. 

1 37 

Ver. 18. “But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law.” 

If it be asked in what way are these two connected, I answer, closely and plainly; for he 
that hath the Spirit as he ought, quenches thereby every evil desire, and he that is released 
from these needs no help from the Law, but is exalted far above its precepts. He who is 
never angry, what need has he to hear the command, Thou shalt not kill? He who never 
casts unchaste looks, what need hath he of the admonition, Thou shalt not commit adultery? 
Who would discourse about the fruits of wickedness with him who had plucked up the root 
itself? for anger is the root of murder, and of adultery the inquisitive gazing into faces. Hence 
he says, “If ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the Law;” wherein he appears to me to 
have pronounced a high and striking eulogy of the Law, if, at least, the Law stood, according 
to its power, in the place of the Spirit before the Spirit’s coming upon us. But we are not on 
that account obliged to continue apart with our schoolmaster. Then we were justly subject 
to the Law, that by fear we might chasten our lusts, the Spirit not being manifested; but now 
that grace is given, which not only commands us to abstain from them, but both quenches 
them, and leads us to a higher rule of life, what more need is there of the Law? He who has 
attained an exalted excellence from an inner impulse, has no occasion for a schoolmaster, 
nor does any one, if he is a philosopher, require a grammarian. Why then do ye so degrade 
yourselves, as now to listen to the Law, having previously given yourselves to the Spirit? 

Ver. 19, 20, 21. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; fornica- 
tion, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wrath, 
factions, divisions, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which 
I forewarn you even as I did forewarn you, that they which practice such things shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God.” 

Answer me now, thou that accusest thine own flesh, and supposest that this is said of 
it as of an enemy and adversary. Let it be allowed that adultery and fornication proceed, as 
you assert, from the flesh; yet hatred, variance, emulations, strife, heresies, and witchcraft, 


137 [“If you adopt the rule of the Spirit, you thereby renounce your allegiance to the Law. In this passage the 
Spirit is doubly contrasted; first with the flesh, and secondly, with the Law, both of which are closely al- 
lied.” — Lightfoot. — G. A ] 

138 [“Would you ascertain whether you are walking by the Spirit or the flesh? Then apply the plain practical 
test.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

139 [“The sins here mentioned seem to fall into four classes: (1) Sensual sins; fornication, uncleanness, lasci- 
viousness; (2) Unlawful dealings in things spiritual; idolatry, sorcery; (3) Violations of brotherly love; enmit- 
ies... envyings; (4) Excesses, drunkenness and revellings.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


83 


Galatians 5:1 


these arise merely from a depraved moral choice. And so it is with the others also, for how 
can they belong to the flesh? you observe that he is not here speaking of the flesh, but of 
earthly thoughts, which trail upon the ground. Wherefore also he alarms them by saying, 
that “they which practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” If these things 
belonged to nature and not to a bad moral choice, his expression, “they practice,” is inap- 
propriate, it should be, “they suffer.” And why should they be cast out of the kingdom, for 
rewards and punishments relate not to what proceeds from nature but from choice? 

Ver. 22. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.” 

He says not, “the work of the Spirit,” but, “the fruit of the Spirit.” Is the soul, however, 
superfluous? the flesh and the Spirit are mentioned, but where is the soul? is he discoursing 
of beings without a soul? for if the things of the flesh be evil, and those of the Spirit good, 
the soul must be superfluous. By no means, for the mastery of the passions belongs to her, 
and concerns her; and being placed amid vice and virtue, if she has used the body fitly, she 
has wrought it to be spiritual, but if she separate from the Spirit and give herself up to evil 
desires, she makes herself more earthly. You observe throughout that his discourse does 
not relate to the substance of the flesh, but to the moral choice, which is or is not vicious. 
And why does he say, “the fruit 140 of the Spirit?” it is because evil works originate in ourselves 
alone, and therefore he calls them “works,” but good works require not only our diligence 
but God’s loving kindness. He places first the root of these good things, and then proceeds 
to recount them, in these words, “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” For who would lay any 
command on him who hath all things within himself, and who hath love for the finished 
mistress of philosophy? As horses, who are docile and do every thing of their own accord, 
need not the lash, so neither does the soul, which by the Spirit hath attained to excellence, 
need the admonitions of the Law. Here too he completely and strikingly casts out the Law, 
not as bad, but as inferior to the philosophy given by the Spirit. 

Ver. 24. “And they that are of Christ Jesus 141 have crucified the flesh with the passions 
and the lusts thereof.” 

That they might not object, “And who is such a man as this?” he points out by their 
works those who have attained to this perfection, here again giving the name of the “flesh” 
to evil actions. He does not mean that they had destroyed their flesh, otherwise how were 


140 [“Used apparently with a significant reference to the organic development, from their root, the Spirit.” — El- 
licott. So substantially Lightfoot and Schaff. But Meyer demurs and says no marked distinction is intended. He 
refers it to Paul’s fondness for variety of expression. — G.A.] 

141 [Having now enumerated the distinctive works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit he says, Now if you are 
Christ’s you have decided between these, the Spirit and the flesh, and have crucified the flesh, with its passions 
(passive) and lusts (active). — G.A.] 


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Galatians 5:1 


they going to live? for that which is crucified is dead and inoperative, but he indicates the 
perfect rule of life. For the desires, although they are troublesome, rage in vain. Since then 
such is the power of the Spirit, let us live therein and be content therewith, as he adds himself, 
Ver. 25. “If we live 142 by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk,” 

— being governed by His laws. For this is the force of the words “let us walk,” that is, let 
us be content with the power of the Spirit, and seek no help from the Law. Then, signifying 
that those who would fain have introduced circumcision were actuated by ambitious motives, 
he says, 

Ver. 26. “Let us not be vainglorious,” 143 which is the cause of all evils, “provoking 144 
one another” to contentions and strife, “envying one another,” for from vainglory comes 
envy and from envy all these countless evils. 


1 42 [Therefore if having crucified the flesh we are dead to it and live by the Spirit, let us conform our conduct 
to our new life, let us also walk by the Spirit. — Lightfoot, substantially. — G.A.] 

143 [“Paul works round again to the subject of ver. 15 and repeats his warning. It is clear that something had 
occurred which alarmed him on this point.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

144 [“‘Provoking’ (TtpOKaAoupcvot) on the part of the strong, ‘envying,’ (tpSovouvrec;) on the part of the weak. 
The strong vauntingly challenged their weaker brethren; the weak could only retaliate with envy,” — Elli- 
cott. — G.A.]. 


85 


Galatians 6:1 


Chapter VI. 

Verse 1 

“Brethren , 145 even if a man he overtaken in any trespass .” 146 

Forasmuch as under cover of a rebuke they gratified their private feelings, and professing 
to do so for faults which had been committed, were advancing their own ambition, he says, 
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken.” He said not if a man commit but if he be “overtaken” 
that is, if he be carried away. 147 

Ye which are spiritual restore such a one,” 

He says not “chastise” nor “judge,” but “set right.” Nor does he stop here, but in order 
to show that it behoved them to be very gentle towards those who had lost their footing, he 
subjoins, 

“In a spirit of meekness.” 

He says not, “in meekness,” but, “in a spirit of meekness,” signifying thereby that this 
is acceptable to the Spirit, and that to be able to administer correction with mildness is a 
spiritual gift. Then, to prevent the one being unduly exalted by having to correct the other, 
puts him under the same fear, saying, 

“Looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” 

For as rich men convey contributions to the indigent, that in case they should be 
themselves involved in poverty they may receive the same bounty, so ought we also to do. 
And therefore he states this cogent reason, in these words, “looking to thyself, lest thou also 
be tempted.” He apologizes for the offender, first, by saying “if ye be overtaken;” next, by 
employing a term indicative of great infirmity 149 ; lastly, by the words “lest thou also be 
tempted,” thus arraigning the malice of the devil rather than the remissness of the soul. 

Ver. 2. “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” 

It being impossible for man to be without failings, he exhorts them not to scrutinize 
severely the offences of others, but even to bear their failings, that their own may in turn be 


145 [“I have just charged you to shun provocation and envy. I now ask you to do more — to be gentle even to 
those whose guilt is flagrant.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

146 ”'Ev rtvt TtapaTtrtopari, “in a false step or slip,” omitted, in the text yet commented on. 

147 [Meyer holds the same view of this word (itpoA.qp<p0fi) and says, “If he be overtaken,” means if the sin 
has reached him more rapidly than he could flee from it. Ellicott, however, says this view of the Ttpo would tend 
to excuse and qualify, whereas Kod seems to point to an aggravation of the offense. The meaning then is “be 
caught before he could escape.” — So Lightfoot but not Schaff. — G.A.] 

148 [“Paul leaves it with every reader to regard himself included or not.” — Meyer — G.A.] 

149 Viz., in a false step, ev rivt TtapaTtrtopari. 


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Galatians 6:1 


borne by others. As, in the building of a house, all the stones hold not the same position, 
but one is fitted for a corner but not for the foundations, another for the foundations, and 
not for the corner so too is it in the body of the Church. The same thing holds in the frame 
of our own flesh; notwithstanding which, the one member bears with the other, and we do 
not require every thing from each, but what each contributes in common constitutes both 
the body and the building. 

Ver. 2. “And so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

He says not “fulfil,” but, “complete 150 ;” that is, make it up all of you in common, 151 by 
the things wherein ye bear with one another. For example, this man is irascible, thou art 
dull- tempered; bear therefore with his vehemence that he in turn may bear with thy slug- 
gishness; and thus neither will he transgress, being supported by thee, nor wilt thou offend 
in the points where thy defects lie, because of thy brother’s forbearing with thee. So do ye 
by reaching forth a hand one to another when about to fall, fulfil the Law in common, each 
completing what is wanting in his neighbor by his own endurance. But if ye do not thus, 
but each of you will investigate the faults of his neighbor, nothing will ever be performed 
by you as it ought. For as in the case of the body, if one were to exact the same function 
from every member of it, the body could never consist, so must there be great strife among 
brethren if we were to require all things from all. 

Ver. 3. “For if a man thinketh himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth 
himself.” 

Here again he reflects on their arrogance. He that thinks himself to be something is 
nothing, and exhibits at the outset a proof of his worthlessness by such a disposition. 

Ver. 4. “But let each man prove his own work.” 

Here he shows that we ought to be scrutinizers of our lives, and this not lightly, but 
carefully to weigh our actions; as for example, if thou hast performed a good deed, consider 
whether it was not from vain glory, or through necessity, or malevolence, or with hypocrisy, 
or from some other human motive. For as gold appears to be bright before it is placed in 
the furnace, but when committed to the fire, is closely proved, and all that is spurious is 
separated from what is genuine, so too our works, if closely examined, will be distinctly 
made manifest, and we shall perceive that we have exposed ourselves to much censure. 



150 Not jtA.r|pd)aare, but dvajAripwaare. 

151 [“This explanation of Chrysostom is not satisfactory. The word in all cases appears to denote a complete 
filling up.” — Ellicott. “By lending a hand to bear your neighbor’s burden, you will fulfil the most perfect of all laws — the 
law of Christ. But if (ver. 3.) any one asserts his superiority, if any one exalts himself above others, he is nothing worth 
and is a vain self- deceiver. Nay (ver. 4.) rather let each man test his own work (Epyovbeing in an emphatic position) and 
then his boast will be his own and not depend on comparison with others.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 


87 


Galatians 6:1 


Ver. 4. “And then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone and not of his 
neighbor.” 

This he says, not as laying down a rule, but in the way of concession; and his meaning 

1 (TO 

is this, “ — Boasting is senseless, but if thou wilt boast, boast not against thy neighbor, as 
the Pharisee did. For he that is so instructed will speedily give up boasting altogether; and 
therefore he concedes a part that he may gradually extirpate the whole. He that is wont to 
boast with reference to himself only, and not against others, will soon reform this failing 
also. For he that does not consider himself better than others, for this is the meaning of “not 
in regard of his neighbor,” but becomes elated by examining himself by himself, will after- 
wards cease to be so. And that you may be sure this is what he desires to establish, observe 
how he checks him by fear, saying above, “let every man prove his own work,” and adding 
here, 

Ver. 5. “For each man shall bear his own burden.” 

He appears to state a reason prohibitory of boasting against another; but at the same 
time he corrects the boaster, to that he may no more entertain high thoughts of himself by 
bringing to his remembrance his own errors, and pressing upon his conscience the idea of 

i ro 

a burden, and of being heavily laden. 

Ver. 6. “But let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in 
all good things.” 

Here he proceeds to discourse concerning Teachers, to the effect that they ought to be 
tended with great assiduity by their disciples. Now what is the reason that Christ so com- 
manded? For this law, “that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel,” (1 
Cor. ix. 14.) is laid down in the New Testament; and likewise in the Old, (Num. xxxi. 47; 
xxxv. 1-8.) many revenues accrued to the Levites from the people; what is the reason, I say, 
that He so ordained? Was it not for the sake of laying a foundation beforehand of lowliness 
and love? For inasmuch as the dignity of a teacher oftentimes elates him who possesses it, 
He, in order to repress his spirit, hath imposed on him the necessity of requiring aid at the 
hands of his disciples. And to these in turn he hath given 154 means of cultivating kindly 
feelings, by training them, through the kindness required of them to their Teacher, in gen- 
tleness towards others also. By this means no slight affection is generated on both sides. 


152 [“If any one wishes to find matter for boasting, let it be truly searched for in his own actions and not derived 
from a contrast of his own fancied virtues with the faults of others.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

153 [Ellicott says, “The qualitative and humbling distinction of Chrysostom does not appear natural or 
probable, nor does it refer to that which will take place in every man after the examination (Meyer); but is ap- 
parently used ethically in reference to what according to the nature of things must be the case.” — G.A.] 

154 [Those philosophers among the Greeks who received pay from their pupils were looked down upon, and 
called Sophists, vid. Xen. Mem. 1. 6. §. 13. 


88 


Galatians 6:1 


Were not the cause of this what I have stated it to be, why should He, who fed the dull- 
minded Jews with manna, have reduced the Apostles to the necessity of asking for aid? Is 
it not manifest He aimed at the great benefits of humility and love, and that those who were 
under teaching might not be ashamed of Teachers who were in appearance despicable? To 
ask for aid bears the semblance of disgrace, but it ceased to be so, when their Teachers with 
all boldness urged their claim, so that their disciples derived from hence no small benefit, 
taught hereby to despise all appearances. Wherefore he says, “But 155 let him that is taught 
in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things,” that is, let him show 
to him all generosity; this he implies by the words, “in all good things.” Let the disciple, says 
he, keep nothing to himself, but have every thing in common, for what he receives is better 
than what he gives, — as much better as heavenly are better than earthly things. This he ex- 
presses in another place, “If we sowed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we 
shall reap your carnal things?” (1 Cor. ix. 11.) Wherefore he gives the procedure the name 
of a “communication,” showing that an interchange takes place. Hereby too love is greatly 
fostered and confirmed. If the teacher asks merely for competency, he does not by receiving 
it derogate from his own dignity. For this is praiseworthy, so assiduously to apply to the 
Word, as to require the aid of others, and to be in manifold poverty, and to be regardless of 
all the means of subsistence. But if he exceed the due measure, he injures his dignity, not 
by mere receiving, but by receiving too much. Then, lest the vice of the Teacher should 
render the disciple more remiss in this matter, and he should frequently pass him by, though 
poor, on account of his conduct, he proceeds to say, 

Ver. 9. “And let us not be weary in well doing.” 156 

And here he points out the difference between ambition of this kind, and in temporal 
affairs, by saying, “Be not deceived ; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, 


155 [Different views are held as to the connection of this with the preceding. Lightfoot says the connection 
is this: “I spoke of bearing one another’s burdens. There is one special application I would make of this rule; 
provide for the wants of your teachers. Ae arrests a former topic before it passes out of sight.” (Compare 4: 20.) 
But Ellicott takes a different view and says: “The duty of sharing their temporal blessings with their teacher is 
placed in contrast with the foregoing declaration of individual responsibility in spiritual matter.” So also Meyer 
who, however, refers it to moral good. — G.A.] 

156 [Dislocated by Chrysostom. This is a part of verse 9, and is an encouragement not to become weary in 
below sowing to the Spirit. — Meyer. — G.A.] 

157 [Meyer, understanding “all good things” to mean every thing that is morally good, says, that this is a 
warning to the readers, in respect to this necessary moral fellowship not to allow themselves to be led astray (by 
the teachers of error or otherwise). Lightfoot and Schaff refer this warning to the consequences of failure to 
share their temporal blessings with their teachers. Ellicott says, “Verse 7 is a continuation of the subject in a 
more general and extended way but not without reference to the special command which immediately pre- 
cedes.” — G.A.] 


89 


Galatians 6:1 


that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; 
but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life.” As in the case of seeds, 
one who sows pulse cannot reap corn, for what is sown and what is reaped must both be of 
one kind, so is it in actions, he that plants in the flesh, wantonness, drunkenness, or inordinate 
desire, shall reap the fruits of these things. And what are these fruits? Punishment, retribution, 
shame, derision, destruction. For of sumptuous tables and viands the end is no other than 
destruction; for they both perish themselves, and destroy the body too. But the fruit of the 
Spirit is of a nature not similar but contrary in all respects to these. For consider; hast thou 
sown alms-giving? the treasures of heaven and eternal glory await thee: hast thou sown 
temperance? honor and reward, and the applause of Angels, and a crown from the Judge 
await thee. 

Ver. 9, 10. “And let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we 
faint not. So then as we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, 
especially toward them that are of the household of faith.” 

Lest any one should suppose that their Teachers were to be cared for and supported, 
but that others might be neglected, he makes his discourse general, and opens the door of 
this charitable zeal to all; nay, he carries it to such a height, as to command us to show mercy 
both to Jews and Greeks, in the proper gradation indeed, but still to show mercy. And what 
is this gradation? it consists in bestowing greater care upon the faithful. His endeavor here 
is the same as in his other Epistles; he discourses not merely of showing mercy, but of doing 
it with zeal and perseverance, for the expressions of “sowing” and of “not fainting” imply 
this. Then, having exacted a great work, he places its reward close at hand, and makes 
mention of a new and wondrous harvest. Among husbandmen, not only the sower but also 
the reaper endures much labor, having to struggle with drought and dust and grievous toil, 
but in this case none of these exist, as he shows by the words, “for in due season we shall 
reap, if we faint not.” By this means he stimulates and draws them on; and he also urges and 
presses them forward by another motive, saying, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us 
do good.” As it is not always in our power to sow, so neither is it to show mercy; for when 
we have been carried hence, though we may desire it a thousand times, we shall be able to 
effect nothing more. To this argument of ours the Ten Virgins (Mat. xxv. 1 . ff.) bear witness, 
who although they wished it a thousand times, yet were shut out from the bridegroom, be- 
cause they brought with them no bountiful charity. And so does the rich man who neglected 
Lazarus (Luke xvi. 19.) for he, being destitute of this succor, although he wept and made 
many entreaties, won no compassion from the Patriarch, or any one else, but continued 
destitute of all forgiveness, and tormented with perpetual fire. Therefore he says, “as we 
have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men,” hereby especially also 
setting them free from the narrow-mindedness of the Jews. For the whole of their benevolence 


90 


Galatians 6:1 


was confined to their own race, but the rule of life which Grace gives invites both land and 
sea to the board of charity, only it shows a greater care for its own household. 

Ver. 11, 12. “See with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand. 
As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be circumcised.” 
Observe what grief possesses his blessed soul. As those who are oppressed with some 
sorrow, who have lost one of their own kindred, and suffered an unexpected calamity, rest 
neither by night nor day, because their grief besieges their soul, so the blessed Paul, after a 
short moral discourse, returns again to that former subject which chiefly disturbed his mind, 
saying as follows: “see with how large letters I have written unto you with mine own hand.” 

1 ro 

By this he signifies that he had written the whole letter himself, which was a proof of 
great sincerity. In his other Epistles he himself only dictated, another wrote, as is plain from 
the Epistle to the Romans, for at its close it is said, “I Tertius, who write the Epistle, salute 
you;” (Rom. xvi. 22.) but in this instance he wrote the whole himself. And this he did by 
necessity, not from affection merely, but in order to remove an injurious suspicion. Being 
charged with acts wherein he had no part, and being reported to preach Circumcision yet 
to pretend to preach it not, he was compelled to write the Epistle with his own hand, thus 
laying up beforehand a written testimony. By the expression “what sized,” he appears to me 
to signify, not the magnitude, but, the misshapen appearance 159 of the letters, as if he had 
said, “Although not well skilled in writing, I have been compelled to write with my own 
hand to stop the mouth of these traducers.” 

Ver. 12, 13. “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they compel you to be 
circumcised; only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For not even they 
who receive circumcision do themselves keep the Law; but they desire to have you circum- 
cised, that they may glory in your flesh.” 

Here he shows that they suffered this, not willingly but of necessity, and affords them 
an opportunity of retreat, almost speaking in their defence, and exhorting them to abandon 
their teachers with all speed. What is the meaning of “to make a fair show in the flesh?” it 
means, to be esteemed by men. As they were reviled by the Jews for deserting the customs 
of their fathers, they desire, says he, to injure you, that they may not have this charged against 


158 [Ellicott hesitatingly adopts this view also. So Alford and Riddle (in Lange). But Meyer, Schaff, Schmoller 
(in Lange) and Lightfoot say that eypou|;a(Philem. 19.) is the epistolary aorist and marks the point at which Paul 
takes the pen from the amanuensis; and that only this concluding paragraph was written with his own hand. So 
the American Committee also in the Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 

159 [“The word used, Ttr|AlKOi(;, denotes size not irregularity. Nor is it probable that Paul who was educated 
at Jerusalem and Tarsus, the great centre of Jewish and Greek learning, was ignorant and unskillful in writing 
Greek. The boldness of the handwriting answers to the force of the Apostle’s convictions.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

91 


Galatians 6:1 


them, but vindicate themselves by means of your flesh. 160 His object here is to show that 
they did not so act from respect to God; it is as if he said, This procedure is not founded in 
piety, all this is done through human ambition; in order that the unbelievers maybe gratified 
by the mutilation of the faithful, they choose to offend God that they may please men; for 
this is the meaning of, “to make a fair show in the flesh.” Then, as a proof that for another 
reason too they are unpardonable, he again convinces them that, not only in order to please 
others, but for their own vain glory, 161 they had enjoined this. Wherefore he adds, “that 
they may glory in your flesh,” as if they had disciples, and were teachers. And what is the 
proof of this? “For not even they themselves,” he says, “keep the Law;” even if they did keep 
it, they would incur grave censure, but now their very purpose is corrupt. 

Ver. 14. “But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Truly this symbol is thought despicable; but it is so in the world’s reckoning, and among 
men; in Heaven and among the faithful it is the highest glory. Poverty too is despicable, but 
it is our boast; and to be cheaply thought of by the public is a matter of laughter to them, 
but we are elated by it. So too is the Cross our boast. He does not say, “I boast not,” nor, “I 
will not boast,” but, “Far be it from me that I should,” as if he abominated it as absurd, and 
invoked the aid of God in order to his success therein. And what is the boast of the Cross? 
That Christ for my sake took on Him the form of a slave, and bore His sufferings for me 
the slave, the enemy, the unfeeling one; yea He so loved me as to give Himself up to a curse 
for me. What can be comparable to this! If servants who only receive praise from their 
masters, to whom they are akin by nature, are elated thereby, how must we not boast when 
the Master who is very God is not ashamed of the Cross which was endured for us. Let us 
then not be ashamed of His unspeakable tenderness; He was not ashamed of being crucified 
for thy sake, and wilt thou be ashamed to confess His infinite solicitude? It is as if a prisoner 
who had not been ashamed of his King, should, after that King had come to the prison and 
himself loosed the chains, become ashamed of him on that account. Yet this would be the 
height of madness, for this very fact would be an especial ground for boasting. 

Ver. 14. “Through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the 
world.” 162 


160 [“Certain men have an ‘object’ in displaying their zeal for carnal ordinances. They hope thereby to save 
themselves from persecution for professing the cross of Christ.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

161 [“They advocate circumcision and yet they themselves neglect the ordinances of the Law. They could not 
face the obloquy to which their abandonment of the Mosaic Law would expose them. So they tried to keep on 
good terms with their unconverted fellow-Jews by imposing circumcision on the Gentile converts also thus 
getting the credit of zeal for the law.” — Lightfoot. — G.A.] 

162 [“For myself, on the other hand, far be it from me, etc.: By way of contrast to the boasting of the pseudo- 
apostles, Paul now presents his own ground of boasting, namely, the crucifixion of Christ, by whose crucifixion 


92 


Galatians 6:1 


What he here calls the world is not the heaven nor the earth, but the affairs of life, the 
praise of men, retinues, glory, wealth, and all such things as have a show of splendor. To 
me these things are dead. Such an one it behooves a Christian to be, and always to use this 
language. Nor was he content with the former putting to death, but added another, saying, 
“and I unto the world,” thus implying a double putting to death, and saying, They are dead 
to me, and I to them, neither can they captivate and overcome me, for they are dead once 
for all, nor can I desire them, for I too am dead to them. Nothing can be more blessed than 
this putting to death, for it is the foundation of the blessed life. 

Ver. 15, 16. “For neither is circumcision any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new 
creature. And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon 
the Israel of God.” 

Observe the power of the Cross, to what a pitch it hath raised him! not only hath it put 
to death for him all mundane affairs, but hath set him far above the Old Dispensation. What 
can be comparable to this power? for the Cross hath persuaded him, who was willing to be 
slain and to slay others for the sake of circumcision, to leave it on a level with uncircumcision, 
and to seek for things strange and marvellous and above the heavens. This our rule of life 
he calls “a new creature,” both on account of what is past, and of what is to come; of what 
is past, because our soul, which had grown old with the oldness of sin, hath been all at once 
renewed by baptism, as if it had been created again. Wherefore we require a new and 
heavenly rule of life. And of things to come, because both the heaven and the earth, and all 
the creation, shall with our bodies be translated into incorruption. Tell me not then, he says, 
of circumcision, which now availeth nothing; (for how shall it appear, when all things have 
undergone such a change?) but seek the new things of grace. For they who pursue these 
things shall enjoy peace and amity, and may properly be called by the name of “Israel.” 
While they who hold contrary sentiments, although they be descended from him (Israel) 
and bear his appellation, have yet fallen away from all these things, both the relationship 
and the name itself. But it is in their power to be true Israelites, who keep this rule, who 
desist from the old ways, and follow after grace. 

Ver. 17. “From henceforth let no man trouble me.” 

This he says not as though he were wearied or overpowered; he who chose to do and 
suffer all for his disciples’ sake; he who said, “Be instant in season, out of season;” (2 Tim. 
iv. 2.) he who said, “If peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of 
the truth, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil;” (2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.) 


is produced the result that no fellowship of life longer exists between him and the world: it is dead for him and 
he is dead for it.” — Meyer . — Alter pro mortuo habet alterum. (Schott.) — G.A.] 

163 [“It is a matter of indifference whether one is circumcised or uncircumcised; and the only matter of im- 
portance is that one should be created anew, transferred into a new spiritual condition of life.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

93 


Galatians 6:1 


how shall he now become relaxed and fall back? Wherefore does he say this? it is to gird up 
their slothful mind, and to impress them with deeper fear, and to ratify the laws enacted by 
himself, and to restrain their perpetual fluctuations. 164 

Ver. 17. “For I bear branded on my body the marks of Jesus.” 

He says not, “I have,” but, “I bear,” like a man priding himself on trophies and royal 
ensigns. Although on a second thought it seems a disgrace, yet does this man vaunt of his 
wounds, and like military standard-bearers, so does he exult in bearing about these wounds. 
And why does he say this? “More clearly by those wounds than by any argument, than by 
any language, do I vindicate myself,” says he. For these wounds utter a voice louder than a 
trumpet against my opponents, and against those who say that I play the hypocrite in my 
teaching, and speak what may please men. For no one who saw a soldier retiring from the 
battle bathed in blood and with a thousand wounds, would dare to accuse him of cowardice 
and treachery, seeing that he bears on his body the proofs of his valor, and so ought ye, he 
says, to judge of me. And if any one desire to hear my defence, and to learn my sentiments, 
let him consider my wounds, which afford a stronger proof than these words and letters. 
At the outset of his Epistle he evinced his sincerity by the suddenness of his conversion, at 
its close he proves it by the perils which attended his conversion. That it might not be objected 
that he had changed his course with upright intentions, but that he had not continued in 
the same purpose, he produces his trials, his dangers, his stripes as witnesses that he had so 
continued. 

Then having clearly justified himself in every particular, and proved that he had spoken 
nothing from anger or malevolence, but had preserved his affection towards them unim- 
paired, he again establishes this same point by concluding his discourse with a prayer 
teeming with a thousand blessings, in these words; 

Ver. 18. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.” 

By this last word he hath sealed all that preceded it. He says not merely, “with you,” as 
elsewhere, but, “with your spirit,” thus withdrawing them from carnal 165 things, and dis- 
playing throughout the beneficence of God, and reminding them of the grace which they 
enjoyed, whereby he was able to recall them from all their judaizing errors. For to have re- 
ceived the Spirit came not of the poverty of the Law, but of the righteousness which is by 


164 [Lightfoot similarly, but more clearly; “Paul closes the epistle as he began it, with an uncompromising 
assertion of his authority: Henceforth let no man question my authority; let no man thwart or annoy me. Jesus 
is my Master and his brand is stamped on my body. I bear this badge of an honorable servitude.” — G.A.] 

165 [So also Lightfoot, who says, “with your spirit” is probably in reference to the carnal religion of the 
Galatians, but this cannot be pressed because the same form of benediction occurs in Philem. 25; 2 Tim. iv. 22. 
Meyer denies there is any such allusion at all. G.A.] 


94 


Galatians 6:1 


Faith, and to preserve it when obtained came not from Circumcision but from Grace. On 
this account he concluded his exhortation with a prayer, reminding them of grace and the 
Spirit, and at the same time addressing them as brethren, and supplicating God that they 
might continue to enjoy these blessings, thus providing for them a twofold security. For 
both prayer and teaching, tended to the same thing and together became to them as a double 
wall. For teaching, reminding them of what benefits they enjoyed, the rather kept them in 
the doctrine of the Church; and prayer, invoking grace, and exhorting to an enduring con- 
stancy, permitted not the Spirit to depart from them. And He abiding in them, all the error 
of such doctrines as they held was shaken off like dust . 166 


166 [Dr. Schaff strikingly says: “The last sentence of this polemic Epistle is a benediction and the last word is 
a word of affection, ‘brethren.’ (The word dSeAcpot stands last in the true text, as the Rev. Version has it.) It takes 
the sting out of the severity. Thus concludes this Epistle so full of polemic fire and zeal, yet more full of grace — free 
sovereign grace, justifying sanctifying grace, and full of forgiving love even to ungrateful pupils; an Epistle for 
the time and an Epistle for all times .” — Popular Commentary, in loco. — G.A.] 


95 



Homilies on Ephesians. 


HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, 

ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE, 

ON THE 



EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE 


TO THE 

EPHESIANS. 


The Argument. 

Ephesus is the metropolis of Asia. It was dedicated to Diana, whom especially they 
worshipped there as their great goddess. Indeed so great was the superstition of her worship- 
pers, that when her temple was burnt, they would not so much as divulge the name of the 
man who burnt it. 

The blessed lohn the Evangelist spent the chief part of his time there: he was there when 
he was banished, and there he died. It was there too that Paul left Timothy, as he says in 
writing to him, “As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus.” (1 Tim. i. 3.) 

Most of the philosophers also, those more particularly who flourished in Asia, were 
there; and even Pythagoras himself is said to have come from thence; perhaps because 
Samos, whence he really came, is an island of Ionia. It was the resort also of the disciples 


167 [The Apocalypse already implies that he stood at the head of the churches of Asia Minor. Rev. 1: 4, 9, 1 1, 
20. Chs. 2 and 3. This is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of antiquity. The most probable view is that he 
was exiled to Patmos under Nero, wrote the Apocalypse soon after Nero’s death, 68 or 69 a.d., returned to 
Ephesus and died there after 98 a.d. — Schaff, Ch. Hist. I. p. 424, 429. — G.A.] 

168 [Of which Ephesus was one of the cities. G.A.] 


96 


The Argument. 


of Parmenides, and Zeno, and Democritus, and you may see a number of philosophers there 
even to the present day. 

These facts I mention, not merely as such, but with a view of showing that Paul would 
needs take great pains and trouble in writing to these Ephesians. He is said indeed to have 
entrusted them, as being persons already well-instructed, with his profoundest conceptions; 
and the Epistle itself is full of sublime thoughts and doctrines. 169 

He wrote the Epistle from Rome, and, as he himself informs us, in bonds. “Pray for me, 
that utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth to make known with boldness 
the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” (Eph. vi. 19.) It abounds 
with sentiments of overwhelming loftiness and grandeur. Thoughts which he scarcely so 
much as utters any where else, he here plainly declares; as when he says, “To the intent that 
now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known 
through the Church the manifold wisdom of God.” (Eph. iii. 10.) And again; “He raised us 
up with him, and made us to sit with him in heavenly places.” (Eph. ii. 6.) And again; “Which 
in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed 
unto His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and 
fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ.” (Eph. iii. 5.) 


169 [Coleridge calls it the “divinest composition of man.” Alford: “The greatest and most heavenly work of 
one whose very imagination is peopled with things in the heavens.” Grotius: “Equaling the sublimity of its 
thoughts with words more sublime than any human language ever possessed.” — Quoted in Schaff, Ch. Hist. I. 
p. 781. — G.A.] 


97 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


Homily I. 

Chapter I. Verses 1-2 

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints which are at Eph- 

1 nr] 

esus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, 

and the Lord Jesus Christ. ” 

Observe, he applies the word “through” to the Father. But what then? Shall we say that 
He is inferior? Surely not. 

“To the saints,” saith he, “which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus.” 

Observe that he calls saints, men with wives, and children, and domestics. For that these 
are they whom he calls by this name is plain from the end of the Epistle, as, when he says, 
“Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands.” (Eph. v. 22.) And again, “Children, obey 
your parents:” (Eph. vi. 1.) and, “Servants, be obedient to your masters.” (Eph. vi. 5.) Think 
how great is the indolence that possesses us now, how rare is any thing like virtue now and 
how great the abundance of virtuous men must have been then, when even secular men 
could be called “saints and faithful.” “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and 
the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Grace” is his word; and he calls God, “Father,” since this name is a 
sure token of that gift of grace. And how so? Hear what he saith elsewhere; “Because ye are 
sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Gal. iv. 
6.) 

“And from the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Because for us men Christ was born, and appeared in the flesh. 

Ver. 3. “Blessed be the God,” he saith, “and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

1 nn 

Observe; The God of Him that was Incarnate . And though thou wilt not, The Father 
of God the Word. 

Ver. 3. “Who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in 
Christ.” 


170 [At Ephesus, Chrysostom’s text has these words (ev ’Ecpeotp) and he betrays no knowledge of any copies 
which omitted them. But they are omitted by Aleph* B. by some mss., consulted by Basil, and apparently by 
Origen’s text, for he interprets rote; ohmv (those who are) absolutely, as he would not have done had he read ev 
'Ecpeocp. The Revisers insert the words but with a marginal note. Westcott and Hort bracket them. See their 
discussion of the point in Appendix (vol. II. of Greek Text), p. 123. For a full discussion see Meyer’s Introduction 
to Ephesians, Sec. 1, where he earnestly defends “the right of these words to a place in the text.” — G.A.] 

171 [Compare Rom. ix. 5; 2 Cor. i. 3; Luke i. 68; 1 Peter i. 3. — G.A.] 

172 [Meyer holds that the genitive tou Kuplou, etc. does not limit ©sot;, but only 7iaTf|p: “Blessed be God who 
at same time is Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So also Ellicott. — G.A.] 


98 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


1 7 ^ 

He is here alluding to the blessings of the Jews ; for that was blessing also, but it was 
not spiritual blessing. For how did it run? “The Lord bless thee, He will bless the fruit of thy 
body;” (Deut. vii. 13.) and “He will bless thy going out and thy coming in.” (Deut. xxviii. 
4.) But here it is not thus, but how? “With every spiritual blessing.” And what lackest thou 
yet? Thou art made immortal, thou art made free, thou art made a son, thou art made 
righteous, thou art made a brother, thou art made a fellow-heir, thou reignest with Christ, 
thou art glorified with Christ; all things are freely given thee. “How,” saith he, “shall He not 
also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. viii. 32.) Thy First-fruits is adored by Angels, 
by the Cherubim, by the Seraphim! What lackest thou yet? “With every spiritual blessing.” 
There is nothing carnal here. Accordingly He excluded all those former blessings, when He 
said, “In the world ye have tribulation,” (John xvi. 33.) to lead us on to these. For as they 
who possessed carnal things were unable to hear of spiritual things, so they who aim at 
spiritual things cannot attain to them unless they first stand aloof from carnal things. 

What again is “spiritual blessing in the heavenly places?” It is not upon earth, he means, 
as was the case with the Jews. “Ye shall eat the good of the land.” (Isa. i. 19.) “Unto a land 
flowing with milk and honey.” (Ex. iii. 8.) “The Lord shall bless thy land.” (Deut. vii. 13.) 
Here we have nothing of this sort, but what have we? “If a man love Me, he will keep My 
word, and I and My Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John xiv. 
23.) “Every one therefore which heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be 
likened unto a wise man which built his house upon the rock, and the floods came, and the 
winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon the rock.” 
(Mat. vii. 24, 25.) And what is that rock but those heavenly things which are above the reach 
of every change? “Every one therefore who,” saith Christ, “shall confess Me before men, 
him will I also confess before My Father which is in Heaven: But whosoever shall deny Me, 
him will I also deny.” (Mat. x. 32, 33.) Again, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall 
see God.” (Mat. v. 8.) And again, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom 
of Heaven.” (Mat. v. 3.) And again, “Blessed are ye which are persecuted for righteousness 
sake, for great is your reward in Heaven.” (Mat. v. 11, 12.) Observe, how every where He 
speaketh of Heaven, no where of earth, or of the things on the earth. 174 And again, “Our 
citizenship is in Heaven, from whence also we wait for a Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.” 


173 [“A contrast to the earthly benefits promised to the Jews in the Old Testament is foreign to the con- 
text.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

174 [“Such a specification of the ‘sphere’ and thence of the ‘spiritual character’ of the action would seem su- 
perfluous after the definite words preceding. In four other passages in this Epistle the expression, ‘in the heav- 
enlies,’ seems ‘local’ (i. 20; ii. 6; iii. 10; vi. 12.). So the expression here must be referred as a ‘local’ predication to 
£t)\o'yL& 139- 7tveupar]Kf| defining the ‘region’ whence the blessings of the Spirit come. Cf. Heb. vi. 4.” — Elli- 
cott. — G.A.] 


99 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


(Philip, iii. 20.) And again, “Not setting your mind on the things that are on the earth, but 
on the things which are above.” (Col. iii. 3.) 

“In Christ.” 

That is to say, this blessing was not by the hand of Moses, but by Christ Jesus: so that 
we surpass them not only in the quality of the blessings, but in the Mediator also. As moreover 
he saith in the Epistle to the Hebrews; “And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a 
servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a 
Son over His house, whose house are we.” (Heb. iii. 5-6.) 

Ver. 4. “Even as,” he proceeds, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” 

His meaning is somewhat of this sort. Through whom He hath blessed us, through Him 
He hath also chosen us. And He, then, it is that shall bestow upon us all those rewards 
hereafter. He is the very Judge that shall say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Mat. xxv. 34.) And again, 
“I will that where I am they will also be with Me.” (John xvii. 24.) And this is a point which 
he is anxious to prove in almost all his Epistles, that ours is no novel system, but that it had 
thus been figured from the very first, that it is not the result of any change of purpose, but 
had been in fact a divine dispensation and fore-ordained. And this is a mark of great solicitude 
for us. 

What is meant by, “He chose us in Him?” By means of the faith which is in Him, Christ, 
he means, happily ordered this for us before we were born; nay more, before the foundation 
of the world. And beautiful is that word “foundation,” as though he were pointing to the 
world as cast down from some vast height. Yea, vast indeed and ineffable is the height of 
God, so far removed not in place but in incommunicableness of nature; so wide the distance 

I nr 

between creation and Creator! A word which heretics may be ashamed to hear. 

But wherefore hath He chosen us? “That we should be holy and without a blemish before 
Him.” That you may not then, when you hear that “He hath chosen us,” imagine that faith 
alone is sufficient, he proceeds to add life and conduct. To this end, saith he, hath He chosen 
us, and on this condition, “that we should be holy and without blemish.” And so formerly 
he chose the Jews. On what terms? “This nation, saith he, hath He chosen from the rest of 
the nations.” (Deut. xiv. 2.) Now if men in their choices choose what is best, much more 
doth God. And indeed the fact of their being chosen is at once a token of the loving kindness 
of God, and of their moral goodness. For by all means would he have chosen those who 

175 [And an argument which can hardly be considered valid, based, as it is, on the literal and etymological 
meaning of a word in a passage where it is plainly used metaphorically and not literally. — The word is 
K<rra[3o\f|. — G.A.] 

176 [T£Kpf|piov Kai xfjc; aurtov ap£Tf|c;, a proposition which will strike a Protestant reader of any denomination 
with surprise, to say the least. Schaff says, “Chrysostom laid great stress on free will and the co-operation of the 


100 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


were approved. He hath Himself rendered us holy, but then we must continue holy. A holy 
man is he who is a partaker of faith; a blameless man is he who leads an irreproachable life. 
It is not however simply holiness and irreproachableness that He requires, but that we should 
appear such “before Him.” For there are holy and blameless characters, who yet are esteemed 
as such only by men, those who are like whited sepulchres, and like such as wear sheep’s 
clothing. It is not such, however, He requires, but such as the Prophet speaks of; “And ac- 
cording to the cleanness of my hands.” (Ps. xviii. 24.) What cleanness? That which is so “in 
His eyesight.” He requires that holiness on which the eye of God may look. 

Having thus spoken of the good works of these, he again recurs to His grace. “In love,” 
saith he, “having predestinated us.” Because this comes not of any pains, nor of any good 
works of ours, but of love; and yet not of love alone, but of our virtue also. For if indeed of 
love alone, it would follow that all must be saved; whereas again were it the result of our 
virtue alone, then were His coming needless, and the whole dispensation. But it is the result 
neither of His love alone, nor yet of our virtue, but of both. “He chose us,” saith the Apostle; 
and He that chooseth, knoweth what it is that He chooseth. “In love,” he adds, “having 
foreordained us;” for virtue would never have saved any one, had there not been love. For 
tell me, what would Paul have profited, how would he have exhibited what he has exhibited, 
if God had not both called him from the beginning, and, in that He loved him, drawn him 
to Himself? But besides, His vouchsafing us so great privileges, was the effect of His love, 
not of our virtue. Because our being rendered virtuous, and believing, and coming nigh 
unto Him, even this again was the work of Him that called us Himself, and yet, notwithstand- 
ing, it is ours also. But that on our coming nigh unto Him, He should vouchsafe us so high 
privileges, as to bring us at once from a state of enmity, to the adoption of children, this is 
indeed the work of a really transcendent love. 

Ver. 4, 5. “In love,” saith he, “having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through 
Jesus Christ unto Himself.” 

Do you observe how that nothing is done without Christ? Nothing without the Father? 
The one hath predestinated, the other hath brought us near. And these words he adds by 


human will with divine grace in the work of conversion. Cassian, the founder of Semi-Pelagianism, was his pupil 
and appealed to his authority. We may say that in tendency and spirit he was a Catholic Semi-Pelagian or Syn- 
ergist before Semi-Pelagianism was brought into a system.” Prolegomena p. 20. Chrysostom’s exposition of this 
passage is inaccurate, inconsistent, illogical and untenable. If He chose us in order that we should be holy how 
can holiness, or “moral goodness,” as Chrysostom says, be an antecedent condition of His choosing us? See note 
on ch. ii. 10. — G.A.] 

177 [These words, ev aydrtr|, are in the Revised Version and in the text of Westcott and Hort joined with what 
precedes, ayiotx; kcil aptopotx;. So also Alford. Meyer and Ellicott, however, are in accord with Chrysostom and 
probably right in joining ev dyartri with rtpoopiaat;, following. — G.A.] 


101 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


way of heightening the things which have been done, in the same way as he says also else- 
where, “And not only so, but we also rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 
v. 11.) For great indeed are the blessings bestowed, yet are they made far greater in being 
bestowed through Christ; because He sent not any servant, though it was to servants He 
sent, but the Only-begotten Son Himself. 

Ver. 5. “According to the good pleasure,” he continues, “of His will.” 

That is to say, because He earnestly willed it. This is, as one might say, His earnest de- 
sire. For the word “good pleasure” everywhere means the precedent will, for there is also 
another will. As for example, the first will is that sinners should not perish; the second will 
is, that, if men become wicked, they shall perish. For surely it is not by necessity that He 
punishes them, but because He wills it. You may see something of the sort even in the words 
of Paul, where he says, “I would that all men were even as I myself.” (1 Cor. vii. 7.) And 
again, “I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children.” (1 Tim. v. 14.) By “good 
pleasure” then he means the first will, the earnest will, the will accompanied with earnest 
desire, as in case of us, for I shall not refuse to employ even a somewhat familiar expression, 
in order to speak with clearness to the simpler sort; for thus we ourselves, to express the 
intentness of the will, speak of acting according to our resolve. What he means to say then 
is this, God earnestly aims at, earnestly desires, our salvation. Wherefore then is it that He 
so loveth us, whence hath He such affection? It is of His goodness alone. For grace itself is 
the fruit of goodness. And for this cause, he saith, hath He predestinated us to the adoption 
of children; this being His will, and the object of His earnest wish, that the glory of His grace 
may be displayed. “According to the good pleasure of His will,” he proceeds, 

Ver. 6. “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in 
the Beloved.” 

That the glory of His grace maybe displayed, he saith, which He freely bestowed on us 
in the Beloved. Now then if for this He hath shown grace to us, to the praise of the glory of 
His grace, and that He may display His grace, let us abide therein. “To the praise of His 
glory.” What is this? that who should praise Him? that who should glorify Him? that we, 
that Angels, that Archangels, yea, or the whole creation? And what were that? Nothing. The 
Divine nature knoweth no want. And wherefore then would He have us praise and glorify 
Him? It is that our love towards Him maybe kindled more fervently within us. He desireth 
nothing we can render; not our service, not our praise, nor any thing else, nothing but our 


178 [The good pleasure of His will means, “God’s free self-determination, independent of all human desert, 
as regulative of the Ttpoopkeiv.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

179 [“As love was the motive for the divine predestination, so is the glorifying of the divine love, here designated 
‘grace,’ its divinely conceived ultimate aim.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


102 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


salvation; this is His object in every thing He does. And he who praises and marvels at the 
grace displayed towards himself will thus be more devoted and more earnest. 

“Which He freely bestowed on us,” he saith. He does not say, “Which He hath graciously 
given us,” (ex«ptoocro) but, “wherein He hath shown grace to us.” (sxaprrojasv) That is to 
say, He hath not only released us from our sins, but hath also made us meet objects of 
His love. It is as though one were to take a leper, wasted by distemper, and disease, by age, 
and poverty, and famine, and were to turn him all at once into a graceful youth, surpassing 
all mankind in beauty, shedding a bright lustre from his cheeks, and eclipsing the sun-beams 
with the glances of his eyes; and then were to set him in the very flower of his age, and after 
that array him in purple and a diadem and all the attire of royalty. It is thus that God hath 
arrayed and adorned this soul of ours, and clothed it with beauty, and rendered it an object 
of His delight and love. Such a soul Angels desire to look into, yea, Archangels, and all the 
holy ones. Such grace hath He shed over us, so dear hath He rendered us to Himself. “The 
King,” saith the Psalmist, “shall greatly desire thy beauty.” (Ps. xlv. 11.) Think what injurious 
words we uttered heretofore, and look, what gracious words we utter now. Wealth has no 
longer charms for us, nor the things that are here below, but only heavenly things, the things 
that are in the heavens. When a child has outward beauty, and has besides a pervading grace 
in all its sayings, do we not call it a beautiful child? Such as this are the faithful. Look, what 
words the initiated utter! What can be more beautiful than that mouth that breathes those 
wondrous words, and with a pure heart and pure lips, and beaming with cheerful confidence, 
partaketh of such a mystical table? What more beautiful than the words, with which we re- 
nounce the service of the Devil, and enlist in the service of Christ? than both that confession 

i o 1 

which is before the Baptismal laver, and that which is after it? Let us reflect as many of 
us as have defiled our Baptism, and weep that we may be able again to repair it. 

Ver. 6. In the Beloved,” he saith, in whom we have our redemption through His 
Blood.” 184 


1 80 [“The word does not here mean ‘to make love worthy,’ as Chrys., referring to inherent righteousness, but 
‘to grant grace,’ just as ver. 7 sets forth simply the work of ‘pardoning grace.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

181 Different usages were observed as regards the Baptismal Confession. In all cases there was one before 
Baptism. In some places it was made three times; and in some it was written after it was spoken, vid. Bingham 
Antique, xi. 7. &c. 

182 [“The designation of Christ by ofiyaTtruiEvoc; makes us feel the greatness of the divine grace.” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

183 [“More precise elucidation of what has been said, on the basis of experience (exopev). Meyer. — G.A.] 

184 [“‘Through His Blood’ is a more precise definition of the preceding ev & ‘in whom.’” — Meyer. “We have 
redemption not in His work without His Person but in His Person which with His work is a living 
unity.” — Olshausen in Lange. — G.A.] 


103 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


And how is this? Not only is there this marvel, that He hath given His Son, but yet further 
that He hath given Him in such a way, as that the Beloved One Himself should be slain! 

Yea, and more transcendent still! He hath given the Beloved for them that were hated. 
See, how high a price he sets upon us. If, when we hated Him and were enemies, He gave 
the Beloved, what will He not do now, when we are reconciled by Him through grace? 

Ver. 7. “The forgiveness,” saith he, “of our trespasses.” 

Again he descends from high to low: first speaking of adoption, and sanctification, and 
blamelessness, and then of the Passion, and in this not lowering his discourse and bringing 
it down from greater things to lesser, no rather, he was heightening it, and raising it from 
the lesser to the greater. For nothing is so great as that the blood of this Son should be shed 
for us. Greater this than both the adoption, and all the other gifts of grace, that He spared 
not even the Son. For great indeed is the forgiveness of sins, yet this is the far greater thing, 
that it should be done by the Lord’s blood. For that this is far greater than all, look how here 
again he exclaims, 

Ver. 7, 8. “According to the riches of His grace, which He made to abound toward us.” 

The abovementioned gifts are riches, yet is this far more so. “Which,” saith he, “He 
made to abound toward us.” They are both “riches” and “they have abounded,” that is to 
say, were poured forth in ineffable measure. It is not possible to represent in words what 
blessings we have in fact experienced. For riches indeed they are, abounding riches, and He 
hath given in abundance riches not of man but of God, so that on all hands it is impossible 
that they should be expressed. And to show us how He gave it to such abundance, he adds, 

1 or 

Ver. 8, 9. “In all wisdom and prudence, having made known unto us the mystery of 
His will.” 

That is to say, Making us wise and prudent, in that which is true wisdom, and that which 
is true prudence. Strange! what friendship! For He telleth us His secrets; the mysteries, saith 
he, of His will, as if one should say, He hath made known to us the things that are in His 
heart. For here is indeed the mystery which is full of all wisdom and prudence. For what 
will you mention equal to this wisdom! Those that were worth nothing, it hath discovered 
a way of raising them to wealth and abundance. What can equal this wise contrivance? He 
that was an enemy, he that was hated, he is in a moment lifted up on high. And not this 
only, — but, yet more, that it should be done at this particular time, this again was the work 
of wisdom; and that it should be done by means of the Cross. It were matter of long discourse 


185 [“‘In all wisdom and prudence’ is not to be joined, as Chrysostom does, with ‘having made known’ 

(■yvtoplaac;), because it would thus denote the attribute of God operative in the yviopkeiv, which on account of 
the Ttaor], ‘every,’ is not admissible. Paul in making known the mystery had to set forth not the display of ‘grace 
in itself but as revealed.’ Hence some definition to the clause, ‘which he made to abound toward us,’ is necessary 
and this is the ‘in all wisdom and prudence.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


104 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


here to point out, how all this was the work of wisdom, and how He had made us wise. And 
therefore he repeats again the words, 

“According to His good pleasure which He purposed in Him.” 

That is to say, this He desired, this He travailed for, as one might say, that He might be 
able to reveal to us the mystery. What mystery? That He would have man seated up on high. 
And this hath come to pass. 

Ver. 10. “Unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, 
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, even in Him.” 

Heavenly things, he means to say, had been severed from earthly. They had no longer 
one Head. So far indeed as the system of the creation went, there was over all One God, but 
so far as management of one household went, this, amid the wide spread of Gentile error, 
was not the case, but they had been severed from His obedience. 

“Unto a dispensation,” saith he, “of the fulness of the times.” 

The fulness of the times, he calls it. Observe with what nicety he speaks. And whereas 
he points out the origination, the purpose, the will, the first intention, as proceeding from 
the Father, and the fulfillment and execution as effected by the agency of the Son, yet no 

1 SR 

where does he apply to him the term minister. 

“He chose us,” saith he, “in Him, having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through 
Jesus Christ to Himself;” and, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, in whom we have re- 
demption through His blood, — which He purposed in Him, unto a dispensation of the fulness 
of the times, to sum up all things in Christ;” and no where hath he called Him minister. If 
however the word “in” and the word “by” implies a mere minister, look what the matter 
comes to. Just in the very beginning of the Epistle, he used the expression “through the will 
of the Father.” The Father, he means, willed, the Son wrought. But neither does it follow, 
that because the Father willed, the Son is excluded from the willing; nor because the Son 


186 [‘“According to His good pleasure’ belongs to yvtoplaac;, stating that God has accomplished the making 
known in pursuance of His free self-determination, cf. ver. 5.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

187 [“‘Which He purposed in Him,’ in itself redundant, serves for the attaching of that which follows.” — Meyer. 
G.A.] 

188 E.G. of the Angels by way of contrast, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister,” sic; 
SiaKovlav. Hebr. i. 14. However S. Irenaeus says, “Ministral ei ad omnia sua progenies etfiguratio sua, id est 
Filins et Spiritus Sanctus.” Hcer. iv. 17. And St. Justin Martyr applies to our Lord the word UTtqpETetv. Tryph. 61, 
as scripture does the word Angel or Messenger. The distinction is obvious; our Lord may be named the Minister 
or Instrument of the Father in the sense in which our reason may be called the instrument of our mind, as being 
one with it and in it. In this sense St. Hilary calls the Son obedientem dictis Dei Deum. de Trin. v. vid. Petav. De 
Trin. ii. 7. §. 7. 


105 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


wrought, that the Father is deprived of the working. But to the Father and the Son, all things 
are common. “For all Mine are Thine,” saith He, “and Thine are Mine.” (John xvii. 10.) 

The fullness of the times, however, was His coming. After, then, He had done 
everything, by the ministry both of Angels, and of Prophets, and of the Law, and nothing 
came of it, and it was well nigh come to this, that man had been made in vain, brought into 
the world in vain, nay, rather to his ruin; when all were absolutely perishing, more fearfully 
than in the deluge, He devised this dispensation, that is by grace; that it might not be in 
vain, might not be to no purpose that man was created. This he calls “the fulness of the 
times,” and “wisdom.” And why so? Because at that time when they were on the very point 
of perishing, then they were rescued. 

That “He might sum up” he saith. 

What is the meaning of this word, “sum up?” It is “to knit together.” Let us, however, 
endeavor to get near the exact import. With ourselves then, in common conversation, the 
word means the summing into a brief compass things spoken at length, the concise account 
of matters described in detail. And it has this meaning. For Christ hath gathered up in 
Himself the dispensations carried on through a lengthened period, that is to say, He hath 
cut them short. For “by finishing His word and cutting it short in righteousness,” (Rom. ix. 
28.) He both comprehended former dispensations, and added others beside. This is the 
meaning of “summing up.” 

It has also another signification; and of what nature is this? He hath set over all one and 
the same Head, i.e., Christ according to the flesh, alike over Angels and men. That is to say, 
He hath given to Angels and men one and the same government; to the one the Incarnate, 
to the other God the Word. 190 Just as one might say of a house which has some part decayed 
and the other sound, He hath rebuilt the house, that is to say, He has made it stronger, and 
laid a firmer foundation. So also here He hath brought all under one and the same Head. 191 

189 [‘Which he purposed in him’ (i.e. ‘Christ’ according to Rev. Ver. and W. and H.; but ‘God’ according to 
Meyer and Ellicott, who have <xutu>) “with a design to the dispensation of the fullness of the times, i.e., the dis- 
pensation to be established at the setting in of the fulness of the times. Gal. iv. 4; Mark i. 15.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

190 [“A distinction at variance with Scripture.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

191 [“This illustration has been again employed by Harless whose view of this passage is that the apostle 
speaks thus: ‘The Lord and Creator of the whole body of which heaven and earth are members, has in the restor- 
ation of one member restored the whole body; and in this consists the greatest significance of the reconciliation 
that it is not merely a restoration of the life of earth but a bringing back of the harmony of the universe. This 
concedes to the tci errl toR oupavoR merely an indirect participation in the avaKEcpaXaltoou; and the de facto 
operation of the Messianic o’lKovopia on the heavenly world is set aside, — which appears the less admissible 
inasmuch as the tci E7ii toR oupavoR has the precedence (in position).” — Meyer. “Heaven and earth have become 
places of sin (vi. 12;) indeed heaven was the first theatre of sin when a part of the angels fell into sin and away 
from God (1 Tim. iii. 6; 1 John iii. 8; James ii. 19; 2 Peter ii. 4;) thence it came to earth (2 Cor. xi. 3; 1 Cor. x. 20, 


106 


Ephesians 1:1—2 


For thus will an union be effected, thus will a close bond be effected, if one and all can be 
brought under one and the same Head, and thus have some constraining bond of union 
from above. Honored then as we are with so great a blessing, so high a privilege, so great 
loving-kindness, let us not shame our Benefactor, let us not render in vain so great grace. 
Let us exemplify the life of Angels, the virtue of Angels, the conversation of Angels, yea, I 
entreat and conjure you, that all these things turn not to our judgment, nor to our condem- 
nation, but to our enjoyment of those good things, which may God grant we may all attain, 
in Christ Jesus, our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, 
strength, &c. &c. 


21.) Thus the state originally appointed by God and the development He wished to be without disturbance, 
ceased (Rom. viii. 18-24,) so that a renewing of the heavens and the earth was taken into view (2 Peter iii. 13.) 
The center of this renewal is Christ and His redeeming work. Here we may certainly apply what Bengel so aptly 
remarks on Rom. viii. 19. that pro suo quodque genus captu, ‘every kind according to its capacity,’ participates 
in this Anacephalaiosis, the evil (angels) as conquered and rejected opponents, the good angels as participating 
friends, the redeemed as accepted children, the rest of creation as subordinate companions.” — Braune in Lange. 
Similarly Eadie: “Not only has harmony been restored to the universe and the rupture occasioned by sin repaired, 
but beings still in rebellion are placed under Christ’s control, as well as the unconscious elements and spheres 
of nature. This summation is seen in the form of government: Jesus is universal regent.” — G.A.] 


107 


Ephesians 1:11-14 


Homily II. 

Chapter I. Verses 11-14 

“In whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose 

of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.” 

Paul earnestly endeavors on all occasions to display the unspeakable loving-kindness 
of God towards us, to the utmost of his power. For that it is impossible to do so adequately, 
hear his own words. “O! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; 
how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out.” (Rom. xi. 33.) Still, 
notwithstanding, so far as it is possible, he does display it. What then is this which he is 
saying; “In whom also we were made a heritage, being predestinated?” Above he used the 
word, “He chose us;” here he saith, “we were made a heritage.” But inasmuch as a lot is a 
matter of chance, not of deliberate choice, nor of virtue, (for it is closely allied to ignorance 
and accident, and oftentimes passing over the virtuous, brings forward the worthless into 
notice,) observe how he corrects this very point: “having been foreordained,” saith he, “ac- 
cording to the purpose of Him who worketh all things.” That is to say, not merely have we 
been made a heritage, as, again, we have not merely been chosen, (for it is God who chooses,) 
and so neither have we merely been allotted, (for it is God who allots,) but it is “according 
to a purpose.” This is what he says also in the Epistle to the Romans, (Rom. viii. 28-30.) “To 
them that are called according to His purpose;” and “whom He called, them He also justified, 
and whom He justified, them he also glorified.” Having first used the expression, “to them 
that are called according to a purpose,” and at the same time wishing to declare their privilege 
compared with the rest of mankind, he speaks also of inheritance by lot, yet so as not to divest 
them of free will. That point then, which more properly belongs to happy fortune, is the 
very point he insists upon. For this inheritance by lot depends not on virtue, but, as one 
might say, on fortuitous circumstances. It is as though he had said, lots were cast, and He 
hath chosen us; but the whole is of deliberate choice. Men predestinated, that is to say, 
having chosen them to Himself, He hath separated. He saw us, as it were, chosen by lot before 


192 [Meyer against the Rev. Version and many scholars makes the meaning here to be: “In whom we were 
allotted the inheritance.” He shows that as tuoteuelv may take as subject when in passive voice the dative of the 
active construction, so also may KXr] pouv which takes in the active a dative. — See also verse 14, KXr] povopla. — G.A.] 

193 “Why calls he the grace of God by the name of lot? because in a lot there is no choice, but the will of God; 
for when it is said, ‘a man does, he does not,’ merits are regarded; and then there is a choice, not a lot. But when 
God found no merits of ours, He saved us by the lot of His will, because He willed, not because we were worthy. 
This is a lot,” &c. August, in Psalm, xxx. Enar. iii. 13. 


108 


Ephesians 1:11-14 


we were born. For marvellous is the foreknowledge of God, and acquainted with all things 
before their beginning. 

But mark now how on all occasions he takes pains to point out, that it is not the result 
of any change of purpose, but that these matters had been thus modeled from the very first, 
so that we are in no wise inferior to the Jews in this respect; and how, in consequence, he 
does every thing with this view. How then is it that Christ Himself saith, “I was not sent, 
but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” (Mat. xv. 24.) And said again to his disciples, 
“Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans.” (Mat. 
x. 5.) And Paul again himself says, “It was necessary that the word of God should first be 
spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, 
lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts xiii. 46.) These expressions, I say, are used with this design, 
that no one may suppose that this work came to pass incidentally only. “According to the 
purpose,” he says, “of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.” That is to 
say, He had no after workings; having modeled all things from the very first, thus he leads 
forward all things “according to the counsel of His will.” So that it was not merely because 
the Jews did not listen that He called the Gentiles, nor was it of mere necessity, nor was it 
on any inducement arising from them. 

Ver. 12, 13. “To the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory, we who had 
before hoped 194 in Christ. In whom ye also having heard the word of the truth, the Gospel 
of your salvation.” 

That is to say, through whom. Observe how he on all occasions speaks of Christ, as the 
Author of all things, and in no case gives Him the title of a subordinate agent, or a minister. 
And so again, elsewhere, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he says, “that God, having of old 
time spoken unto the Fathers in the prophets, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us 
in His Son,” (Heb. i. 1.) that is “through” His Son. 

“The word of truth,” he says, no longer that of the type, nor of the image. 

“The Gospel of your salvation.” And well does he call it the Gospel of salvation, intim- 
ating in the one word a contrast to the law, in the other, a contrast with punishment to come. 
For what is the message, but the Gospel of salvation, which forbears to destroy those that 
are worthy of destruction. 

Ver. 14. “In whom having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 
which is an earnest of our inheritance.” 

Here again, the word “sealed,” is an indication of especial forecast. He does not speak 
of our being predestinated only, nor of our being allotted, but further, of our being sealed. 


194 [Meyer’s reference of f|pdu;***TOU(; TtporiXmKOTCK; to Jewish Christians seems precarious. It seems better 
to make the f|pac; refer to Christians in general, the Ttpo in TtporiXTUKorcK; refer to the time before the second 
Advent and the kcil upEit; to the readers. So De Wette and Theophylact. — G.A.] 


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For just as though one were to make those who should fall to his lot manifest, so also did 
God separate them for believing, and sealed them for the allotment of the things to come. 

You see how, in process of time, He makes them objects of wonder. So long as they were 
in His foreknowledge, they were manifest to no one, but when they were sealed, they became 
manifest, though not in the same way as we are; for they will be manifest except a few. The 
Israelites also were sealed, but that was by circumcision, like the brutes and reasonless 
creatures. We too are sealed, but it is as sons, “with the Spirit.” 

But what is meant by, “with the Spirit of promise?” Doubtless it means that we have 
received that Spirit according to promise. For there are two promises, the one by the 
prophets, the other from the Son. 

By the Prophets. — Hearken to the words of Joel; “I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh, 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your 
young men shall see visions,” (Joel ii. 28.) And hearken again to the words of Christ; “But 
ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be my witnesses 
both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” 
(Acts i. 8.) And truly, the Apostle means, He ought, as God, to have been believed; however, 
he does not ground his affirmation upon this, but examines it like a case where man is 
concerned, speaking much as he does in the Epistle to the Hebrews; (Heb. vi. 18.) where he 
says, “That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to he, we may have 
a strong encouragement.” Thus here also he makes the things already bestowed a sure token 
of the promise of those which are yet to come. For this reason he further calls it an “earnest,” 
(Cf. also 2 Cor. i. 22.) for an earnest is a part of the whole. He hath purchased what we are 
most concerned in, our salvation; and hath given us an earnest in the mean while. Why then 
did He not give the whole at once? Because neither have we, on our part, done the whole of 
our work. We have believed. This is a beginning; and He too on His part hath given an 
earnest. When we show our faith by our works, then He will add the rest. Nay, more, He 
hath given yet another pledge, His own blood, and hath promised another still. In the same 
way as in case of war between nation and nation they give hostages: just so hath God also 
given His Son as a pledge of peace and solemn treaties, and, further, the Holy Spirit also 
which is from Him. For they, that are indeed partakers of the Spirit, know that He is the 
earnest of our inheritance. Such an one was Paul, who already had here a foretaste of the 
blessings there. And this is why he was so eager, and yearned to be released from things 
below, and groaned within himself. He transferred his whole mind thither, and saw every 
thing with different eyes. Thou hast no part in the reality, and therefore failest to understand 
the description. Were we all partakers of the Spirit, as we ought to be partakers, then should 
we behold Heaven, and the order of things that is there. 

It is an earnest, however, of what? of 

Ver. 14. “The redemption of God’s own possession.” 


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For our absolute redemption takes place then. 195 For now we have our life in the world, 
we are liable to many human accidents, and are living amongst ungodly men. But our absolute 
redemption will be then, when there shall be no sins, no human sufferings, when we shall 
not be indiscriminately mixed with all kinds of people. 

At present, however, there is but an earnest, because at present we are far distant from 
these blessings. Yet is our citizenship not upon earth; even now we are out of the pale of the 
things that are here below. Yes, we are sojourners even now. 

Ver. 14. “Unto the praise of His glory.” 

This he adds in immediate connection. And why? Because it would serve to give those 
who heard it full assurance. Were it for our sake only, he means to say, that God did this, 
there might be some room for misgiving. But if it be for His own sake, and in order to display 
His goodness, he assigns, as a sort of witness, a reason why these things never possibly could 
be otherwise. We find the same language everywhere applied to the case of the Israelites. 
“Do Thou this for us for Thy Name’s sake;” (Ps. cix. 21.) and again, God Himself said, “I do 
it for Mine own sake;” (Isa. xlviii. 11.) and so Moses, “Do it, if for nothing else, yet for the 
glory of Thy Name.” This gives those who hear it full assurance; it relieves them to be told, 
that whatever He promises, for His own goodness’ sake He will most surely perform. 

Moral. Let not the hearing, however, make us too much at our ease; for although He 
doth it for His own sake, yet notwithstanding He requires a duty on our part. If He says, 
“Them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed,” (1 
Sam. ii. 30.) let us reflect that there is that which He requires of us also. True, it is the praise 
of His glory to save those that are enemies, but those who, after being made friends, continue 
His friends. So that if they were to return back to their former state of enmity, all were vain 
and to no purpose. There is not another Baptism, nor is there a second reconciliation again, 
but “a certain fearful expectation of judgment which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. x. 
27.) If we intend at the same time to be always at enmity with Him and yet to claim forgive- 
ness at His hand, we shall never cease to be at enmity, and to be wanton, to grow in depravity, 
and to be blind to the Sun of Righteousness which has risen. Dost thou not see the ray that 
shall open thine eyes? render them then good and sound and quicksighted. He hath showed 
thee the true light; if thou shunnest it, and runnest back again into the darkness, what shall 
be thy excuse? What sort of allowance shall be made for thee? None from that moment. For 
this is a mark of unspeakable enmity. When indeed thou knewest not God, then if thou wert 
at enmity with Him, thou hadst, be it how it might, some excuse. But when thou hast tasted 
the goodness and the honey, if thou again abandonest them, and turnest to thine own vomit, 



195 [“The final consummation of the redemption effected by the Xurpov of Christ (v. 7.) at the Parousia (Lu. 
xxi. 28.) when suffering, sin and death are wholly done away and in the glorifying of the body there sets in the 
6o^a of the children of God.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


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what else art thou doing but bringing forward evidence of excessive hatred and contempt? 
‘Nay,’ thou wilt say, ‘but I am constrained to it by nature. I love Christ indeed, but I am 
constrained by nature.’ If thou art under the power and force of constraint, thou wilt have 
allowance made; but if thou yield from indolence, not for a moment. 

Now then, come, let us examine this very question, whether sins are the effect of force 
and constraint, or of indolence and great carelessness. The law says, “Thou shalt not kill.” 
What sort of force, what sort of violence, is there here? Violence indeed must one use to 
force himself to kill, for who amongst us would as a matter of choice plunge his sword into 
the throat of his neighbor, and stain his hand with blood? Not one. Thou seest then that, 
on the contrary, sin is more properly matter of violence and constraint. For God hath im- 
planted in our nature a charm, which binds us to love one another. “Every beast (it saith) 
loveth his like, and every man loveth his neighbor.” (Ecclus. xiii. 15.) Seest thou that we 
have from our nature seeds which tend to virtue; whereas those of vice are contrary to 
nature? and if these latter predominate, this is but an evidence of our exceeding indolence. 

Again, what is adultery? What sort of necessity is there to bring us to this? Doubtless, 
it will be said, the tyranny of lust. But why, tell me, should this be? What, is it not in every 
one’s power to have his own wife, and thus to put a stop to this tyranny? True, he will say, 
but a sort of passion for my neighbor’s wife seizes hold on me. Here the question is no longer 
one of necessity. Passion is no matter of necessity, no one loves of necessity, but of deliberate 
choice and free will. Indulgence of nature, indeed, is perhaps matter of necessity, but to love 
one woman rather than another is no matter of necessity. Nor is the point with you natural 
desire, but vanity, and wantonness, and unbounded licentiousness. For which is according 
to reason, that a man should have an espoused wife, and her the mother of his children, or 
one not acknowledged? Know ye not that it is intimacy that breeds attachment. This, 
therefore, is not the fault of nature. Blame not natural desire. Natural desire was bestowed 
with a view to marriage; it was given with a view to the procreation of children, not with a 
view to adultery and corruption. The laws, too, know how to make allowance for those sins 
which are of necessity, — or rather nothing is sin when it arises from necessity but all sin 
rises from wantonness. God hath not so framed man’s nature as that he should have any 
necessity to sin, since were this the case, there would be no such thing as punishment. We 
ourselves exact no account of things done of necessity and by constraint, much less would 
God, so full of mercy and loving-kindness. 

Again, what is stealing? is it matter of necessity? Yes, a man will say, because poverty 
causes this. Poverty, however, rather compels us to work, not to steal. Poverty, therefore, 
has in fact the contrary effect. Theft is the effect of idleness; whereas poverty produces usually 
not idleness, but a love of labor. So that this sin is the effect of indolence, as you may learn 
from hence. Which, I ask, is the more difficult, the more distasteful, to wander about at 
night without sleep, to break open houses, and walk about in the dark, and to have one’s 


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life in one’s hand, and to be always prepared for murder, and to be shivering and dead with 
fear; or to be attending to one’s daily task, in full enjoyment of safety and security? This last 
is the easier task; and it is because this is easier, that the majority practise it rather than the 
other. Thou seest then that it is virtue which is according to nature, and vice which is against 
nature, in the same way as disease and health are. 

What, again, are falsehood and perjury? What necessity can they possibly imply? None 
whatever, nor any compulsion; it is a matter to which we proceed voluntarily. We are dis- 
trusted, it will be said. True, distrusted we are, because we choose it. For we might, if we 
would, be trusted more upon our character, than upon our oath. Why, tell me, is it that we 
do not trust some, no, not on their oath, whilst we deem others trustworthy even independ- 
ently of oaths . 196 Seest thou that there is no need of oaths in any case? ‘When such an one 
speaks,’ we say, ‘I believe him, even without any oath, but thee, no, not with thy oaths.’ Thus 
then an oath is unnecessary; and is in fact an evidence rather of distrust than of confidence. 
For where a man is over ready to take his oath, he does not leave us to entertain any great 
idea of his scrupulousness. So that the man who is most constant in his use of oaths, has on 
no occasion any necessity for using one, and he who never uses one on any occasion, has 
in himself the full benefit of its use. Some one says there is a necessity for an oath, to produce 
confidence; but we see that they are the more readily trusted who abstain from taking oaths. 

But again, if one is a man of violence, is this a matter of necessity? Yes, he will say, because 
his passion carries him away, and burns within him, and does not let the soul be at rest. 
Man, to act with violence is not the effect of anger, but of littleness of mind. Were it the effect 
of anger, all men, whenever they were angry, would never cease committing acts of violence. 
We have anger given us, not that we may commit acts of violence on our neighbors, but 
that we may correct those that are in sin, that we may bestir ourselves, that we may not be 
sluggish. Anger is implanted in us as a sort of sting, to make us gnash with our teeth against 
the devil, to make us vehement against him, not to set us in array against each other. We 
have arms, not to make us at war amongst ourselves, but that we may employ our whole 
armor against the enemy. Art thou prone to anger? Be so against thine own sins: chastise 
thy soul, scourge thy conscience, be a severe judge, and merciless in thy sentence against 
thine own sins. This is the way to turn anger to account. It was for this that God implanted 
it within us. 

But again, is plunder a matter of necessity? No, in no wise. Tell me, what manner of 
necessity is there to be grasping: what manner of compulsion? Poverty, a man will say, causes 
it, and the fear of being without common necessaries. Now this is the very reason why you 


196 Vid. also Horn, ad Pop. Antioch, vii. fin. However, in Act Apost. Horn. x. fin. he considers oaths allowable 
in order to convince the weak. St. Augustin says the same, de Serm. Dorn. i. 51. thus accounting for St. Paul’s 
expressions, Rom. i. 9.; 1 Cor. xv. 31; 2 Cor. ii. 31; Gal. i. 20. 


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ought not to be grasping. Wealth so gotten has no security in it. You are doing the very same 
thing as a man would do, who, if he were asked why he laid the foundation of his house in 
the sand, should say, he did it because of the frost and rain. Whereas this would be the very 
reason why he should not lay it in the sand. They are the very foundations which the rain, 
and blasts, and wind, most quickly overturn. So that if thou wouldest be wealthy, never be 
rapacious; if thou wouldest transmit wealth to thy children, get righteous wealth, at least, if 
any there be that is such. Because this abides, and remains firm, whereas that which is not 
such, quickly wastes and perishes. Tell me, hast thou a mind to be rich, and dost thou take 
the goods of others? Surely this is not wealth: wealth consists in possessing what is thine 
own. He that is in possession of the goods of others, never can be a wealthy man; since at 
that rate even your very silk venders, who receive their goods as a consignment from others, 
would be the wealthiest and the richest of men. Though for the time, indeed, it is theirs, still 
we do not call them wealthy. And why forsooth? Because they are in possession of what 
belongs to others. For though the piece itself happens to be theirs, still the money it is worth 
is not theirs. Nay, and even if the money is in their hands, still this is not wealth. Now, if 
consignments thus given render not men more wealthy because we so soon resign them, 
how can those which arise from rapine render them wealthy? However, if at any rate thou 
desirest to be wealthy, (for the matter is not one of necessity,) what greater good is it that 
thou wouldest fain enjoy? Is it a longer life? Yet, surely men of this character quickly become 
short-lived. Oftentimes they pay as the penalty of plunder and rapaciousness, an untimely 
death; and not only suffer as a penalty the loss of the enjoyment of their gains, but go out 
of life having gained but little, and hell to boot. Oftentimes too they die of diseases, which 
are the fruits of self-indulgence, and of toil, and of anxiety. Fain would I understand why it 
is that wealth is so eagerly pursued by mankind. Why surely for this reason hath God set a 
limit and a boundary to our nature, that we may have no need to go on seeking wealth 
beyond it. For instance He hath commanded us, to clothe the body in one, or perhaps in 
two garments; and there is no need of any more to cover us. Where is the good of ten 
thousand changes of raiment, and those moth-eaten? The stomach has its appointed bound, 
and any thing given beyond this, will of necessity destroy the whole man. Where then is the 
use of your herds, and flocks, and cutting up of flesh? We require but one roof to shelter us. 
Where then is the use of your vast ground-plots, and costly buildings? Dost thou strip the 
poor, that vultures and jackdaws may have where to dwell? And what a hell do not these 
things deserve? Many are frequently raising edifices that glisten with pillars and costly 
marbles, in places which they never so much as saw. What scheme is there indeed that they 
have not adopted? Yet neither themselves reap the benefit, nor any one else. The desolateness 
does not allow them to get away thither; and yet not even thus do they desist. You see that 
these things are not done for profit’s-sake, but in all these cases folly, and absurdity, and 
vainglory, is the motive. And this, I beseech you to avoid, that we maybe enabled to avoid 


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also every other evil, and may obtain those good things which are promised to them that 
love Him, in our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, 
be glory, strength, honor forever. Amen. 


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Ephesians 1:15-20 


Homily III. 

Chapter I. Verses 15-20 

“For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus, which is among you, and 
which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of 
you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give 
unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: having the eyes of 
your heart enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches 
of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power 
to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might, which He 
wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead.” 

Never was anything equal to the yearnings of the Apostle, never anything like the sym- 
pathy and the affectionateness of the blessed Paul, who made his every prayer in behalf of 
whole cities and peoples, and writes the same to all, “I thank my God for you, making 
mention of you in my prayers.” Think how many he had in his mind, whom it were a labor 
so much as to remember; how many he made mention of in his prayers, giving thanks to 
God for them all as though he himself had received the greatest blessing. 

“Wherefore,” he says, i.e., because of what is to come, because of the good things 
that are laid up in store for them who rightly believe and live. And it is meet then to give 
thanks to God both for all the things which mankind have received at His hands, both 
heretofore and hereafter; and meet to give Him thanks also for the faith of them that believe. 

“Having heard,” saith he, “of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and which 
ye show 199 toward all the saints.” 

He on all occasions knits together and combines faith and love, a glorious pair; nor does 
he mention the saints of that country only, but all. 

“I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” 

What is thy prayer, and what thy entreaty? It is 

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit 
of wisdom and revelation.” 200 Two things he requires them to understand, as it is their duty 



197 [Rom. i. 9; 1 Cor. i. 4; Philip, i. 3, 4; Col. i. 3; 1 Thes. i. 2. — G.A.] 

198 [“On the contrary this ‘wherefore,’ 6ia touto, refers to what precedes ver. 13, 14, ‘because this is the case 
that ye too are in Christ and have been sealed with the Spirit.’ So Theophylact.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

199 [The word ‘love,’ cryaTtr|v, which gets into the Auth. Ver. from some inferior mss., is omitted by Aleph. 
A. B. W. and H. Rev. Vers. cf. Col. i. 4. — G.A.] 

200 [Chrysostom’s hasty and superficial treatment of this great passage would seem to justify the language 
of Dr. Newman in his preface to the Oxford translation of these homilies on Ephesians. There are “imperfections 
in their composition which in the opinion of some critics argued the absence of that comparative leisure which 

116 


Ephesians 1:15-20 


to understand them; to what blessings they are called, and how they have been released from 
their former state. He says, however, himself, that these points are three. How then are they 
three? In order that we may understand touching the things to come; for from the good 
things laid up for us, we shall know His ineffable and surpassing riches, and from under- 
standing who we were, and how we believed, we shall know His power and sovereignty, in 
turning again to Himself those who had been so long time estranged from Him, “For the 
weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Cor. i. 25.) Inasmuch as it is by the self-same 
power by which He raised Christ from the dead, that He hath also drawn us to Himself. Nor 
is that power limited to the resurrection, but far exceeds it. 

Ver. 21, 22. “And made Him to sit at His right hand, in the Heavenly places, far above 
all rule and authority, and power and dominion, and every name that is named: and He put 
all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, 
which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” 

Vast indeed are the mysteries and secrets of which He hath made us partakers. And 
these it is not possible for us to understand otherwise than by being partakers of the Holy 
Ghost, and by receiving abundant grace. And it is for this reason that Paul prays. “The 
Father of glory,” that is, He that hath given us vast blessings, for he constantly addresses 
Him according to the subject he is upon, as, for instance, when he says, “The Father of 
mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Cor. i. 3.) And, again, the Prophet says, “The Lord is 
my strength and my might.” (Ps. xviii. 1.) 

“The Father of glory.” 

He has no name by which he may represent these things, and on all occasions calls them 
“glory,” which is in fact, with us, the name and appellation of every kind of magnificence. 
Mark, he says, the Father of glory; (cf. Acts vii. 2.) but of Christ the God. 201 What then? Is 
the Son inferior to the glory? No, there is no one, not even a maniac, would say so. 

“May give unto you,” 

That is, may raise and wing your understanding, for it is not possible otherwise to un- 
derstand these things. “For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; 
for they are foolishness unto him.” (1 Cor. ii. 14.) So then, there is need of spiritual “wisdom,” 
that we may perceive things spiritual, that we may see things hidden. That Spirit “revealeth” 
all things. He is going to set forth the mysteries of God. Now the knowledge of the mysteries 
of God, the Spirit alone comprehends, who also searcheth the deep things of Him. It is not 
said, “that Angel, or Archangel, or any other created power, may give,” that is, confer upon 
you a spiritual gift. And if this be of revelation, then is the discovery of arguments con- 


he enjoyed at Antioch.” Schaff also says: “His life in Constantinople was too much disturbed to leave him quiet 
leisure for preparation.” This, however, in referring to his Homilies on Acts. Prolegomena p. 19. — G.A. 

201 [Compare Mat. xxvii. 46; John xx. 17; Rev. iii. 12. — G.A.] 


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sequently vain. For he that hath learned God, and knoweth God, shall no longer dispute 
concerning any thing. He will not say, This is impossible, and That is possible, and How 
did the other thing come to pass? If we learn God, as we ought to know Him; if we learn 
God from Him from whom we ought to learn Him, that is from the Spirit Himself; then 
shall we no longer dispute concerning any thing. And hence it is that he says, 

909 

“Having the eyes of your heart enlightened in the knowledge of Him.” 

He that hath learned what God is, will have no misgiving about His promises, and dis- 
belief about what hath been already brought to pass. He prays, then, that there maybe given 
them “a spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Yet still he also establishes it, as far as he can 
himself, by arguments, and from “already” existing facts. For, whereas he was about to 
mention some things which had already come to pass, and others which had not as yet 
happened; he makes those which have been brought to pass, a pledge of those which have 
not: in some such way, I mean, as this, 

“That ye may know,” saith he, “what is the hope of His calling.” 

It is as yet, he means, hidden, but not so to the faithful. 

9/-J0 

“And,” again, “what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” 

This too is as yet hidden. 

But what is clear? that through His power we have believed that He hath raised Christ. 
For to persuade souls, is a thing far more miraculous than to raise a dead body. I will endeavor 
to make this clear. Hearken then. Christ said to the dead, “Lazarus, come forth,” (John xi. 
43.) and straightway he obeyed. Peter said, “Tabitha, arise,” (Acts ix. 40.) and she did not 
refuse. He Himself shall speak the word at the last day, and all shall rise, and that so quickly, 
that “they which are yet alive, shall in no wise precede them that are fallen asleep,” (1 Thess. 
iv. 15.) and all shall come to pass, all run together “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” 
(1 Cor. xv. 52.) But in the matter of believing, it is not thus, but how is it? Hearken then to 
Him again, how He saith, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye 
would not.” (Matt, xxiii. 37.) You perceive that this last is the more difficult. Accordingly, 
it is upon this that he builds up the whole argument; because by human calculations it is far 
more difficult to influence the choice, than to work upon nature. And the reason is this, it 



202 [“The words, ‘in the knowledge of Him,’ £V£7U yvtboEi aurou, are not to be joined with the words ‘having 
your heart enlightened,’ as Chrysostom here, which entirely destroys the paralellism and symmetry of the sentence, 
but with the words, may give you a spirit of wisdom, etc., (in the knowledge of Him).” — Meyer and Ellicott. — G.A.] 

203 [“That ye may know what a great and glorious hope is given to the man whom God has called to the 
Kingdom of the Messiah; and that ye may know what is the object of that hope, namely, the riches of the glory 
of the inheritance which He gives; and that ye may know that by which this hope is to be realized, namely, the 
infinite power of God as shown in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


118 


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is because He would thus have us become good of our own will. Thus with good reason 
does he say , 204 

“The exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe.” 

Yes, when Prophets had availed nothing, nor Angels, nor Archangels, when the whole 
creation, both visible and invisible, had failed, (the visible lying before us, and without any 
power to guide us, and much also which is invisible,) then He ordered His own coming, to 
show us that it was a matter which required Divine power. 

“The riches of the glory,” 

That is, the unutterable glory; for what language shall be adequate to express that glory 
of which the saints shall then be partakers? None. But verily there is need of grace in order 
that the understanding may perceive it, and admit even so much as at least one little ray. 
Some things indeed they knew even before; now he was desirous that they should learn 
more, and know it more clearly. Seest thou how great things He hath wrought? He hath 
raised up Christ. Is this a small thing? But look again. He hath set Him at His right hand. 
And shall any language then be able to represent this? Him that is of the earth, more mute 
than the fishes, and made the sport of devils, He hath in a moment raised up on high. Truly 
this is indeed the “exceeding greatness of His power.” And behold, whither He hath raised 
Him. 

“In the heavenly places;” 

He hath made Him far above all created nature, far above all rule and authority. 

“Far above all rule,” he saith. 

Need then indeed is there of the Spirit, of an understanding wise in the knowledge of 
Him. Need then is there indeed of revelation. Reflect, how vast is the distance between the 
nature of man and of God. Yet from this vile estate hath He exalted Him to that high dignity. 
Nor does He mount by degrees, first one step, then another, then a third. Amazing! He does 
not simply say, “above,” but, “far above;” for God is above those powers which are above. 
And thither then hath He raised Him, Him that is one of us, brought Him from the lowest 
point to the supremest sovereignty, to that beyond which there is no other honor. Above 
“all” principality, he says, not, i.e., over one and not over another, but over all, 

“Rule and authority and power, and dominion, and every name that is named.” 

Whatever there be in Heaven, He has become above all. And this is said of Him that 
was raised from the dead which is worthy of our admiration; for of God the Word, it cannot 
possibly be, because what insects are in comparison of man, this the whole creation is in 
comparison of God. If all mankind are to be counted as spittle and were counted as the turn 
of a balance, consider the invisible powers as insects. But of Him that was one of us, this is 
great and surprising indeed. For He raised Him up from the very lowest parts of the earth. 


204 ’Exovtck;. 


119 



Ephesians 1:15-20 


If all the nations are as a drop, how small a portion then of that drop is a single man! Yet 
Him hath He made higher than all things, “not only in this world, but also in that which is 
to come.” Therefore powers there are whose names are to us unintelligible, and unknown. 

“And He put all things in subjection under His feet.” 

Not simply so set Him above them as to be honored above them, nor by way of compar- 
ison with them, but so that He should sit over them as His slaves. Amazing! Awful indeed 
are these things; every created power hath been made the slave of man by reason of God 

one 

the Word dwelling in Him. For it is possible for a man to be above others, without having 
others in subjection, but only as preferred before them. But here it is not so. No, “He put 
all things in subjection under His feet.” And not simply put them in subjection, but in the 
most abject subjection, that below which there can be none. Therefore he adds, “under His 
feet.” 

“And gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church.” 

Amazing again, whither hath He raised the Church? as though he were lifting it up by 
some engine, he hath raised it up to a vast height, and set it on yonder throne; for where the 
Head is, there is the body also. There is no interval to separate between the Head and the 
body; for were there a separation, then were it no longer a body, then were it no longer a 
head. “Over all things,” he says. What is meant by “over all things?” He hath suffered neither 
Angel nor Archangel nor any other being to be above Him. But not only in this way hath 
He honored us, in exalting that which is of ourselves, but also in that He hath prepared the 
whole race in common to follow Him, to cling to Him, to accompany His train. 

“Which is His body.” 

In order then that when you hear of the Head you may not conceive the notion of su- 
premacy only, but also of consolidation, and that you may behold Him not as supreme Ruler 
only, but as Head of a body. 

“The fulness of Him that filleth all in all” he says. 

As though this were not sufficient to show the close connection and relationship, what 
does he add? “The fullness of Christ is the Church.” And rightly, for the complement of the 
head is the body, and the complement of the body is the head. Mark what great arrangement 
Paul observes, how he spares not a single word, that he may represent the glory of God. 
“The, complement,” he says, i.e., the head is, as it were, filled up by the body, because the 
body is composed and made up of all its several parts, and he introduces Him as having 


205 Aid tov evoiKouvra 0eov Aoyov. The ‘inhabitation’ of the Word in our flesh, was a favorite form of 
speech with the Nestorians, who thereby insinuated that the Word dwelt in ‘a’ man, or denied Christ’s unity of 
person. Yet the phrase is strictly orthodox, as being derived from John i. 14, and is especially maintained by 
Cyril, the antagonist of Nestorius, in order to denote that God was in human ‘nature,’ vid. Cyril in Schol. 25. 
Theodor. Eran. ii. Ephraem. Antioch, apud Phot. 229. 


120 


Ephesians 1:15-20 


need of each single one and not only of all in common and together; for unless we be many, 
and one be the hand, and another the foot, and another some other member, the whole 
body is not filled up. It is by all then that His body is filled up. Then is the head filled up, 
then is the body rendered perfect, when we are all knit together and united. Perceivest thou 
then the “riches of the glory of His inheritance? the exceeding greatness of His power towards 
them that believe? the hope of your calling?” 

Moral. Let us reverence our Head, let us reflect of what a Head we are the body, — a 
Head, to whom all things are put in subjection. According to this representation we ought 
to be better, yea, than the very angels, and greater than the Archangels, in that we have been 
honored above them all. God “took not hold of Angels,” as he says in writing to the Hebrews, 
“but He took hold of the seed of Abraham.” (Heb.ii. 16.) He took hold of neither principality 
nor power, nor dominion, nor any other authority, but He took up our nature, and made 
it to sit on His right hand. And why do I say, hath made it sit? He hath made it His gar- 
ment, and not only so, but hath put all things in subjection under His feet. How many 
sorts of death supposest thou? How many souls? ten thousand? yea, and ten thousand times 
told, but nothing equal to it wilt thou mention. Two things He hath done, the greatest things. 
He hath both Himself descended to the lowest depth of humiliation, and hath raised up 
man to the height of exaltation. He saved him by His blood. He spoke of the former first, 
how that He so greatly humbled Himself. He speaks now of what is stronger than that — a 
great thing, the crown of all. Surely, even had we been counted worthy of nothing, it were 
enough. Or, had we been counted worthy even of this honor, it were enough, without the 
slaying of the Son. But where there are the two, what power of language must it not transcend 
and surpass? The very resurrection is not great, when I reflect on these things. It is of Him 
that he says, “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” not of God the Word. 

Let us feel awed at the closeness of our relation, let us dread lest any one should be cut 
off from this body, lest any one should fall from it, lest any one should appear unworthy of 
it. If any one were to place a diadem about our head, a crown of gold, should we not do 
every thing that we might seem worthy of the lifeless jewels? But now it is not a diadem that 
is about our head, but, what is far greater, Christ is made our very Head, and yet we pay no 
regard to it. Yet Angels reverence that Head, and Archangels, and all those powers above. 
And shall we, which are His body, be awed neither on the one account nor the other? And 
what then shall be our hope of salvation? Conceive to yourself the royal throne, conceive 
the excess of the honor. This, at least if we chose, might more avail to startle us, yea, even 


206 'Ipcmov. Thus Cyril Alex, speaks of Christ as ‘clothed about’ with our nature. In Success. 2 p. 142. Vid. 
also Epiph. Aticor. §. 95. Augustine in Psalm 130. 10. This, as well as other theological terms, was abused by 
heretical disputants; as if it implied either that the manhood of Christ might be put off from His divine nature, 
or that it was a mere accidental and unsubstantial medium of manifesting it. 


121 


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than hell itself. For, even though hell were not, that we having been honored with such an 
honor, should be found base and unworthy of it, what punishment, what vengeance must 
not this carry with it? Think near whom thy Head is seated, (this single consideration is 
amply sufficient for any purpose whatever,) on whose right hand He is placed, far above all 
principality, and power, and might. Yet is the body of this Head trampled on by the very 
devils. Nay, God forbid it should be thus; for were it thus, such a body could be His body 
no longer. Thy own head the more respectable of thy servants reverence, and dost thou 
subject thy body to be the sport of them that insult it? How sore punishment then shalt thou 
not deserve? If a man should bind the feet of the emperor with bonds and fetters, will he 
not be liable to the extremity of punishment? Dost thou expose the whole body to fierce 
monsters, and not shudder? 

However, since our discourse is concerning the Lord’s body, come, and let us turn our 
thoughts to it, even that which was crucified, which was nailed, which is sacrificed. ' If 
thou art the body of Christ, bear the Cross, for He bore it: bear spitting, bear buffetings, 
bear nails. Such was that Body; that Body “did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” 
(1 Pet. ii. 22.) His hands did every thing for the benefit of them that needed, His mouth 
uttered not a word of those things which are not convenient. He heard them say, “Thou 
hast a devil,” and He answered nothing. 

Further, our discourse is concerning this Body, and as many of us as partake of that 
Body and taste of that Blood, are partaking of that which is in no wise different from that 
Body, nor separate. Consider that we taste of that Body that sitteth above, that is adored by 
Angels, that is next to the Power that is incorruptible. Alas! how many ways to salvation are 
open to us! He hath made us His own body, He hath imparted to us His own body, and yet 
not one of these things turns us away from what is evil. Oh the darkness, the depth of the 
abyss, the apathy! “Set your mind,” saith he, “on the things that are above, where Christ is, 
seated on the right hand of God.” (Col. iii. 1 .) And after all this, some set their affections 
upon money, or licentiousness, others are carried captive by their passions! 

Do ye not see, that even in our own body, when any part is superfluous and useless, it 
is cut off, is cut away? It is of no use that it has belonged to the body, when it is mutilated, 
when it is mortified, when it is decayed, when it is detrimental to the rest. Let us not then 
be too confident, because we have been once made members of this body. If this body of 
ours, though but a natural body, nevertheless suffers amputation, what dreadful evil shall 
it not undergo, if the moral principle should fail? When the body partakes not of this natural 
food, when the pores are stopped up, then it mortifies; when the ducts are closed, then it is 
palsied. So is it with us also, when we stop our ears, our soul becomes palsied; when we 
partake not of the spiritual food, when, instead of corrupt bodily humors, evil dispositions 


207 0uo|ievou. 


122 


Ephesians 1:15-20 


impair us, all these things engender disease, dangerous disease, disease that wastes. And 
then there will be need of that fire, there will be need of that cutting asunder. For Christ 
cannot endure that we should enter into the bride-chamber with such a body as this. If He 
led away, and cast out the man that was clothed in filthy garments, what will He not do 
unto the man who attaches filth to the body; how will He not dispose of him? 

I observe many partaking of Christ’s Body lightly and just as it happens, and rather 
from custom and form, than consideration and understanding. When, saith a man, the holy 
season of Lent sets in, whatever a man may be, he partakes of the mysteries, or, when the 
day of the Lord’s Epiphany 208 comes. And yet it is not the Epiphany, nor is it Lent, that 
makes a fit time for approaching, but it is sincerity and purity of soul. With this, approach 
at all times; without it, never. “For as often,” (1 Cor. xi. 26.) saith he, “as ye do this, ye pro- 
claim the Lord’s death,” i.e., “ye make a remembrance of the salvation that has been wrought 
for you, and of the benefits which I have bestowed.” Consider those who partook of the 
sacrifices under the old Covenant, how great abstinence did they practise? How did they 
not conduct themselves? What did they not perform? They were always purifying themselves. 
And dost thou, when thou drawest nigh to a sacrifice, at which the very Angels tremble, 
dost thou measure the matter by the revolutions of seasons? and how shalt thou present 
thyself before the judgment-seat of Christ, thou who presumest upon His body with polluted 
hands and lips? Thou wouldest not presume to kiss a king with an unclean mouth, and the 
King of heaven dost thou kiss with an unclean soul? It is an outrage. Tell me, wouldest thou 
choose to come to the Sacrifice with unwashen hands? No, I suppose, not. But thou wouldest 
rather choose not to come at all, than come with soiled hands. And then, thus scrupulous 
as thou art in this little matter, dost thou come with soiled soul, and thus dare to touch it? 
And yet the hands hold it but for a time, whereas into the soul it is dissolved entirely. What, 
do ye not see the holy vessels so thoroughly cleansed all over, so resplendent? Our souls 
ought to be purer than they, more holy, more brilliant. And why so? Because those vessels 
are made so for our sakes. They partake not of Him that is in them, they perceive Him not. 
But we do; — yes, verily. Now then, thou wouldest not choose to make use of a soiled vessel, 
and dost thou approach with a soiled soul? Observe the vast inconsistency of the thing. At 
the other times ye come not, no, not though often ye are clean; but at Easter, however flagrant 
an act ye may have committed, ye come. Oh! the force of custom and of prejudice! In vain 
is the daily Sacrifice, 209 in vain do we stand before the Altar; there is no one to partake. 


208 This was the great festival of the Greek Church, being in remembrance of our Lord’s Baptism, and, as it 
would appear, of His birth inclusively. The festival of Christmas, which had been in use in the West from an 
earlier date, was introduced at Antioch A.D. 376, with much opposition. Chrysostom, A.D. 387, urges its due 
celebration in his Horn, de Beato Philogon, and Serm. in Diem Natal. J. C. 

209 [On Chrysostom’s view of the eucharistic sacrifice, see Prolegomena , p. 21, note. — G.A.] 


123 


Ephesians 1:15-20 


These things I am saying, not to induce you to partake any how, but that ye should render 
yourselves worthy to partake. Art thou not worthy of the Sacrifice, nor of the participation? 
If so, then neither art thou of the prayer. Thou hearest the herald, standing, and saying, 
“As many as are in penitence, all pray.” As many as do not partake, are in penitence. If 
thou art one of those that are in penitence, thou oughtest not to partake; for he that partakes 
not, is one of those that are in penitence. Why then does he say, “Depart, ye that are not 
qualified to pray,” whilst thou hast the effrontery to stand still? But no, thou art not of that 
number, thou art of the number of those who are qualified to partake, and yet art indifferent 
about it, and regardest the matter as nothing. 

Look, I entreat: a royal table is set before you, Angels minister at that table, the King 
Himself is there, and dost thou stand gaping?" Are thy garments defiled, and yet dost thou 
make no account of it? — or are they clean? Then fall down and partake. Every day He cometh 
in to see the guests, and converseth with them all. Yes, at this moment is he speaking to your 
conscience; “Friends, how stand ye here, not having on a wedding garment?” He said not, 
Why didst thou sit down? no, before he sat down, He declared him to be unworthy, so much 
as to come in. He saith not, “Why didst thou sit down to meat,” but, “Why earnest thou in?” 
And these are the words that He is at this very moment addressing to one and all of us that 
stand here with such shameless effrontery. For every one, that partaketh not of the mysteries, 
is standing here in shameless effrontery. It is for this reason, that they which are in sins are 
first of all put forth; for just as when a master is present at his table, it is not right that those 
servants who have offended him should be present, but they are sent out of the way: just so 
also here when the sacrifice is brought forth, and Christ, the Lord’s sheep, is sacrificed; when 
thou hearest the words, “Let us pray together,” when thou beholdest the curtains drawn 
up, then imagine that the Heavens are let down from above, and that the Angels are 
descending! 


210 i.e. the Deacon, AGavdoioq 7tpoaTdf;a(; duxKovto Kr|pu^ai Euyqv k. t. X. Socr. Hist. ii. 1 1. id qu. dvayivtoaKEiv, 
Athan. defug 24. 

211 Vid. Bingh. Antiqu. xiii. 2. and xiv. 5. [The text here seems to be corrupt, Field’s text is, “as many as are 
in penitence, all pray,” (6£ij0r|T£ 7tdvT£(;) which is evidently inconsistent with the context. The text should 
probably be, “As many as are in penitence, depart; as many as are not in penitence, pray all.” So Field suggests 
in a note saying, Locus corruptus videtur, siefortasse redintegrandus: oaoi ev p£ravoi& 139- d7teX0£T£, oaoipr) 
ev peravoiq 6£f|0qr£ ndvreq. — G.A.] 

212 Vid. Bingh. Antiqu. xv. 2. 

213 apcpiGupa, curtains before the choir or altar, vid. Chrysost. in Matt. Horn. 84. fin. where, however, it has 
not the ecclesiastical sense, Epiphan. Epist. 51.9. apud Hieron, ed. Vallars. where the curtain had a figure of 
Christ or some Saint, (to which Epiphanius objects) vid. also Evagr. Hist. vi. 21. 


124 



Ephesians 1:15-20 


As then it is not meet that any one of the uninitiated be present, so neither is it that one 
of them that are initiated, and yet at the same time defiled. Tell me, suppose any one were 
invited to a feast, and were to wash his hands, and sit down, and be all ready at the table, 
and after all refuse to partake; is he not insulting the man who invited him? were it not 
better for such an one never to have come at all? Now it is just in the same way that thou 
hast come here. Thou hast sung the Hymn 214 with the rest: thou hast declared thyself to be 
of the number of them that are Worthy, by not departing with them that are unworthy. 
Why stay, and yet not partake of the table? I am unworthy, thou wilt say. Then art thou also 
unworthy of that communion thou hast had in prayers. For it is not by means of the offerings 
only, but also by means of those canticles that the Spirit descendeth all around. Do we not 
see our own servants, first scouring the table with a sponge, and cleaning the house, and 
then setting out the entertainment? This is what is done by the prayers, by the cry of the 
herald. We scour the Church, as it were, with a sponge, that all things may be set out in a 
pure church, that there maybe “neither spot nor wrinkle.” (Eph. v. 27.) Unworthy, indeed, 
both our eyes of these sights, and unworthy are our ears! “And if even a beast,” it is said, 
“touch the mountain, it shall be stoned.” (Ex. xix. 13.) Thus then they were not worthy so 
much as to set foot on it, and yet afterwards they both came near, and beheld where God 
had stood. And thou mayest, afterwards, come near, and behold: when, however, He is 
present, depart. Thou art no more allowed to be here than the Catechumen is. For it is not 
at all the same thing never to have reached the mysteries, and when thou hast reached them, 
to stumble at them and despise them, and to make thyself unworthy of this thing. One might 
enter upon more points, and those more awful still; not however to burden your understand- 
ing, these will suffice. They who are not brought to their right senses with these, certainly 
will not be with more. 

That I may not then be the means of increasing your condemnation, I entreat you, not 
to forbear coming, but to render yourselves worthy both of being present, and of approaching. 
Tell me, were any king to give command and to say, “If any man does this, let him partake 
of my table;” say, would ye not do all ye could to be admitted? He hath invited us to heaven, 
to the table of the great and wonderful King, and do we shrink and hesitate, instead of 
hastening and running to it? And what then is our hope of salvation? We cannot lay the 
blame on our weakness; we cannot on our nature. It is indolence and nothing else that 
renders us unworthy. 

So far have I spoken of myself. But may He that pricketh the heart, He that giveth the 
Spirit of compunction, pierce your hearts, and plant the seeds in the depth of them, that so 
through His fear ye may conceive, and bring forth the spirit of salvation, and come near 
with boldness. For, “thy children,” it is said, “are like olive plants round about thy table.” 


214 The Angelic Hymn, Holy, Holy, Holy, vid. Chrysost. in 2 Cor. Horn. 18. Cyril. Hieros. Myst. v. 6. 


125 


Ephesians 1:15-20 


(Ps. cxxviii. 3.) O, then, let there be nothing old, nothing wild, nothing harsh. For of such 
sort are the young plants that are fit for fruit, for the beautiful fruit, fruit I mean of the olive- 
tree. And thriving they are, so as all to be round about the table, and come together here, 
not in vain or by chance, but with fear and reverence. For thus shall ye behold with boldness 
even Christ Himself in heaven, and shall be counted worthy of that heavenly kingdom, 
which may God grant we may all attain, in Jesus Christ, our Lord with whom to the Father, 
together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and for ages of ages. 
Amen. 


126 


Ephesians 2:1-3 


Homily IV. 

Chapter II. Verses 1-3 

“And you did He quicken, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein 
aforetime ye walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the 
power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom 
we also all once lived, in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the 
mind; and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest.” 

TIC 

There is, we know, a corporal, and there is also a spiritual, dying. Of the first it is no 
crime to partake, nor is there any peril in it, inasmuch as there is no blame attached to it, 
for it is a matter of nature, not of deliberate choice. It had its origin in the transgression of 
the first-created man, and thenceforward in its issue it passed into a nature, and, at all events, 
will quickly be brought to a termination; whereas this spiritual dying, being a matter of de- 
liberate choice, has criminality, and has no termination. Observe then how Paul, having 
already shown how exceedingly great a thing it is, in so much that to heal a deadened soul 
is a far greater thing than to raise the dead, so now again lays it down in all its real greatness. 

“And you,” saith he “when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein 
aforetime ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the 
power of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience.” You observe 
the gentleness of Paul, and how on all occasions he encourages the hearer, not bearing too 
hard upon him. For whereas he had said, Ye have arrived at the very last degree of wickedness, 

9 i /r 

(for such is the meaning of becoming dead,) that he may not excessively distress them, 
(because men are put to shame when their former misdeeds are brought forward, cancelled 
though they be, and no longer attended with danger,) he gives them, as it were, an accomplice, 
that it may not be supposed that the work is all their own, and that accomplice a powerful 
one. And who then is this? The Devil. He does much the same also in the Epistle to the 
Corinthians, where, after saying, “Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters,” ( 1 
Cor. vi. 9.) and after enumerating all the other vices, and adding in conclusion, “shall inherit 
the kingdom of God;” he then adds, “and such were some of you;” he does not say absolutely, 
“ye were,” but “some of you were,” that is, thus in some sort were ye. Here the heretics attack 
us. They tell us that these expressions (“prince of all the power of the air,” etc.) are used with 


215 [The Commentators, except Meyer, refer the VEKpoix; to spiritual death, as Chrysostom does. Meyer refers 
it to “eternal death, the eternal condemnation,” and says the VEKpoix; is proleptic. He distinctly says it does not 
refer to physical death, though Ellicott represents him as saying that it does. — G.A.] 

216 [Paul’s motive in this passage is probably not what Chrysostom says, but, on the contrary, to show how 
desperately bad their state was. — G.A.] 


127 


Ephesians 2:1-3 


reference to God, and letting loose their unbridled tongue, they fit these things to God, 
which belong to the Devil alone. How then are we to put them to silence? By the very words 
they themselves use; for, if He is righteous, as they themselves allow, and yet hath done these 
things, this is no longer the act of a righteous being, but rather of a being most unrighteous 
and corrupted; and corrupted God cannot possibly be. 

Further, why does he call the Devil “the prince” of the world? Because nearly the whole 
human race has surrendered itself to him and all are willingly and of deliberate choice his 
slaves. And to Christ, though He promises unnumbered blessings, not any one so much as 
gives any heed; whilst to the Devil, though promising nothing of the sort, but sending them 
on to hell, all yield themselves. His kingdom then is in this world, and he has, with few ex- 
ceptions, more subjects and more obedient subjects than God, in consequence of our indol- 
ence. 

917 

“According to the power,” saith he, “of the air, of the spirit.” 

Here again he means, that Satan occupies the space under Heaven, and that the incor- 
poreal powers are spirits of the air, under his operation. For that his kingdom is of this age, 
i.e., will cease with the present age, hear what he says at the end of the Epistle; “Our wrestling 
is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against powers, against the 
world rulers of this darkness;” (Eph. vi. 12.) where, lest when you hear of world-rulers you 
should therefore say that the Devil is uncreated, he elsewhere (Gal. i. 4.) calls a perverse 
time, “an evil world,” not of the creatures. For he seems to me, having had dominion beneath 
the sky, not to have fallen from his dominion, even after his transgression. 

“That now worketh,” he says, “in the sons of disobedience.” 

You observe that it is not by force, nor by compulsion, but by persuasion, he wins us 
over; “disobedience” or “untractableness” is his word, as though one were to say, by guile 
and persuasion he draws all his votaries to himself. And not only does he give them a word 
of encouragement by telling them they have an associate, but also by ranking himself with 
them, for he says, 

“Among whom we also all once lived.” 

“All,” because he cannot say that any one is excepted. 

“In the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh, and of the mind, and were by 
nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” 

That is, having no spiritual affections. Yet, lest he should slander the flesh, or lest it 
should be supposed that the transgression was not great, observe how he guards the matter, 

“Doing,” he says, “the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” 


217 [“The word af|p which is commonly confined to the region of the air, may be extended to all that supra- 
terrestrial but sub-celestial region which seems to be, if not the abode, at least the haunt of evil spirits, cf. Job i. 
7.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


128 


Ephesians 2:1-3 


That is, the pleasurable passions. We provoked God to anger, he saith, we provoked 
Him to wrath, we were wrath, and nothing else. For as he who is a child of man is by nature 
man, so also were we children of wrath even as others; i.e., no one was free, but we all 

did things worthy of wrath. 

Ver. 4. “But God, being rich in mercy.” 

Not merely merciful, but rich in mercy; as it is said also in another place; “In the multi- 
tude of thy mercies.” (Ps. lxix. 17.) And again, “Have mercy upon me, according to the 
multitude of thy tender mercies.” (Ps. li. 1.) 

Ver. 4. For His great love, wherewith He loved us. 

Why did He love us? For these things are not deserving of love, but of the sorest wrath, 
and punishment. And thus it was of great mercy. 

Ver. 5. “Even when we were dead through our trespasses He quickened us together with 
Christ.” 

Again is Christ introduced, and it is a matter well worthy of our belief, because if the 
Firstfruits live, so do we also. He hath quickened both Him, and us. Seest thou that all this 
is said of Christ incarnate? Beholdest thou “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward 
who believe?” (Eph. i. 19.) Them that were dead, them that were children of wrath, them 
hath he quickened. Beholdest thou “the hope of his calling?” 

Ver. 6. “He raised us up with Him and made us sit with Him.” 


218 Chrysostom understands the words according to the order in which they stand in the original text, ijgEV 
TEKva cpuaei 6pyfj<;, “we were natural” or “genuine children of wrath,” referring “by nature” not to “we were” 
but to “children.” To say that we were by “nature” under wrath, might have seemed all one with saying that God 
created Adam under wrath. When then we so speak, we must take the word “nature” in S. Augustine’s sense, 
not to mean our literal nature, but “as referring to our birth.” “In eo quod dixi, 'natura esse malce animal nullo 
modo queunt,’ si quceritur quomodo accipiamus quod ait Apostolus, ‘Fuimus et nos natura filii iroe, &c.’” respon- 
demus, naturam in his verbis rneis me intelligi voluisse illam, quceproprie natura dicitur, in qua sine vitiis creati 
sumus. Nam ista propter originem natura appellatur, quce origo utique habet vitium, quod est contra naturam. 
August. Retract, i. 15. §. 6. vid, also de Lib. Arb. iii. 54.] “That man is a born subject of wrath from birth, an object 
of the divine condemnation, is not at all a doctrine of the Apostle, according to whom man by his actual sin falls 
under the wrath of God, inasmuch as he becomes subject to and follows the inborn principle of sin in opposition 
to his moral will which he likewise by nature bears in himself. Certainly man is born with this natural sinful 
quality, i.e., with the principle of sin, by the awakening and development of which the moral will is vanquished 
(Rom. vii. cf. John iii. 6.) It is not, however, the mere fact of this inborn presence having its basis in his flesh 
that in and of itself makes him a child of wrath, but he only becomes so when that constitution of his moral 
nature, that mingling of the two opposite principles in his natural disposition has brought about the victory of 
the sin-principle, which however is the case with every one.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

219 [Aid rqv 7ToXXqv ctydTtqv aurou: “namely, in order to satisfy it.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


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Beholdest thou the glory of His inheritance? That “He hath raised us up together,” is 
plain. But that He “hath made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” how 
does this hold? It holds as truly, as that He hath raised us together. For as yet no one is actually 
raised, excepting that inasmuch as as the Head hath risen, we also are raised, just as in 
the history, when Jacob did obeisance, his wife also did obeisance to Joseph. (Gen. xxxvii. 
9, 10.) And so in the same way “hath He also made us to sit with Him.” For since the Head 
sitteth, the body sitteth also with it, and therefore he adds “in Christ Jesus.” Or again, if it 
means, not this, it means that by the laver of Baptism He hath “raised us up with Him.” 
How then in that case hath He made “us to sit with Him?” Because, saith he, “if we suffer 
we shall also reign with Him,” (2 Tim. ii. 12.) if we be dead with Him we shall also live with 
Him. Truly there is need of the Spirit and of revelation, in order to understand the depth 
of these mysteries. And then that ye may have no distrust about the matter, observe what 
he adds further. 

Ver. 7. “That in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in 
kindness towards us, in Christ Jesus.” 

Whereas he had been speaking of the things which concerned Christ, and these might 
be nothing to us, (for what, it might be said, is it to us, that He rose) therefore he shows that 
they do moreover extend to us, inasmuch as He is made one with us. Only that our concern 
in the matter he states separately. “Us,” saith he, “who were dead through our trespasses He 
raised up with Him, and made us sit with Him.” Wherefore, as I was saying, be not unbe- 
lieving, take the demonstration he adduces both from former things, and from His Headship, 
and also from His desire to show forth His goodness. For how will He show it, unless this 
come to pass? And He will show it in the ages to come. What? that the blessings are both 
great, and more certain than any other. For now the things which are said may to the unbe- 
lievers seem to be foolishness; but then all shall know them. Wouldest thou understand too, 
how He hath made us sit together with Him? Hear what Christ Himself saith to the disciples, 
“Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. xix. 28.) 
And again, “But to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give, but it is 
for them for whom it hath been prepared of My Father.” (Matt. xx. 23.) So that it hath been 
prepared. And well saith he, “in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus,” for to sit on His right 
hand is honor above all honor, it is that beyond which there is none other. This then he 
saith, that even we shall sit there. Truly this is surpassing riches, truly surpassing is the 


220 [This is Meyer’s view. He says: “By virtue of the dynamic connection of Christ with believers as the head 
with its body their revivification is objectively comprehended in His.” Ellicott says; “Though the simple meaning 
of auvf|y£ipev and auvEKdOiaev seems to confine their reference to what is future and objective; still as auv£^a)07toir|aEV 
though primarily spiritual and present may have a physical and future reference, so here a present spiritual resurrection 
and enthronement may be alluded to.” — G.A.] 


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greatness of His power, to make us sit down with Christ, Yea, hadst thou ten thousand souls, 
wouldest thou not lose them for His sake? Yea, hadst thou to enter the flames, oughtest thou 
not readily to endure it? And He Himself too saith again, “Where I am, there shall also My 
servant be.” (John. xii. 26.) Why surely had ye to be cut to pieces every day, ought ye not, 
for the sake of these promises cheerfully to embrace it? Think, where He sitteth? above all 
principality and power. And with whom it is that thou sittest? With Him. And who thou 
art? One dead, by nature a child of wrath. And what good hast thou done? None. Truly now 
it is high time to exclaim, “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge 
of God!” (Rom. xi. 33.) 

Ver. 8. For by grace,” saith he “have ye been saved.” 

In order then that the greatness of the benefits bestowed may not raise thee too high, 
observe how he brings thee down: “by grace ye have been saved,” saith he, 

“Through faith;” 

Then, that, on the other hand, our free-will be not impaired, he adds also our part in 
the work, and yet again cancels it, and adds, 

“And that not of ourselves.” 

Neither is faith, he means, “of ourselves.” Because had He not come, had He not 
called us, how had we been able to believe? for “how,” saith he, “shall they believe, unless 
they hear?” (Rom. x. 14.) So that the work of faith itself is not our own. 

“It is the gift,” said he, “of God,” it is “not of works.” 

Was faith then, you will say, enough to save us? No; but God, saith he, hath required 
this, lest He should save us, barren and without work at all. His expression is, that faith 
saveth, but it is because God so willeth, that faith saveth. Since, how, tell me, doth faith save, 
without works? This itself is the gift of God. 

Ver. 9. “That no man should glory.” 

That he may excite in us proper feeling touching this gift of grace. “What then?” saith 
a man, “Hath He Himself hindered our being justified by works?” By no means. But no one, 
he saith, is justified by works, in order that the grace and loving-kindness of God may be 
shown. He did not reject us as having works, but as abandoned of works He hath saved us 
by grace; so that no man henceforth may have whereof to boast. And then, lest when thou 


22 1 [“Confirmatory explanation of the truth and justice of the expression, ‘the exceeding riches of His grace’ 
by a recurrence to the statement made parenthetically in verse 5.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

222 [Meyer objects to this interpretation saying: “How violent is this taking to pieces of the text, since ouk eI; 
uptov and ouk eI; Epytov present themselves in a manner alike natural and weighty as elements belonging to one 
flow of the discourse! The touto refers to the salvation just designated as regards its specific mode.” So substan- 
tially Ellicott. — G.A.] 


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hearest that the whole work is accomplished not of works but by faith, thou shouldest become 
idle, observe how he continues, 

Ver. 10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which 
God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” 

Observe the words he uses. He here alludes to the regeneration, which is in reality a 
second creation. We have been brought from non-existence into being. As to what we were 
before, that is, the old man, we are dead. What we are now become, before, we were not. 
Truly then is this work a creation, yea, and more noble than the first; for from that one, we 
have our being; but from this last, we have, over and above, our well being. 

9 9 A 

“For good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.” 

Not merely that we should begin, but that we should walk in them, for we need a virtue 
which shall last throughout, and be extended on to our dying day. If we had to travel a road 
leading to a royal city, and then when we had passed over the greater part of it, were to flag 
and sit down near the very close, it were of no use to us. This is the hope of our calling; for 
“for good works” he says. Otherwise it would profit us nothing. 

Moral. Thus here he rejoices not that we should work one work, but all; for, as we have 
five senses, and ought to make use of all in their proper season, so ought we also the several 
virtues. Now were a man to be temperate and yet unmerciful, or were he to be merciful and 
yet grasping, or were he to abstain indeed from other people’s goods, and yet not bestow 
his own, it would be all in vain. For a single virtue alone is not enough to present us with 
boldness before the judgment-seat of Christ; no, we require it to be great, and various, and 
universal, and entire. Hear what Christ saith to the disciples, “Go, ye and make disciples of 
all the nations, — teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you.” (Matt, 
xxviii. 19.) And again, “Whosoever shall break one of these least commandments, shall be 
called least in the kingdom of Heaven,” (Matt. v. 19.) that is, in the resurrection; nay, he 
shall not enter into the kingdom; for He is wont to call the time also of the resurrection, the 
kingdom. “If he break one,” saith He, “he shall be called least,” so that we have need of all. 
And observe how it is not possible to enter without works of mercy; but if even this alone 
be wanting, we shall depart into the fire. For, saith He, “Depart, ye cursed, into the eternal 
fire, which is prepared for the Devil and his angels.” Why and wherefore? “For I was an 


223 [This is not the object of Paul in the statement of v. 10, but as Meyer says: “Ver. lOis the reason assigned 
for the immediately preceding ouk eI; upu>v. . ,Kauyf|or|TaL. For if we are God’s handiwork our salvation cannot 
be of our own acquiring, and if we are created in Christ unto good works how could the merit of our works be 
the cause of our salvation or the subject of our boasting?” — G.A.] 

224 [God, before we were created in Christ, made ready for us, prepared a sphere of moral action or (to use 
the simile of Chrysostom) a road, with the intent that we should walk in it. This sphere, this road was good 
works, spya ccyaGa.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


132 


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hungered, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink.” (Matt. xxv. 42.) 
Beholdest thou, how without any other charge laid against them, for this one alone they 
perished. And for this reason alone too were the virgins also excluded from the bride- 
chamber, though sobriety surely they did possess. As the Apostle saith “and the sanctification, 
without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. xii. 14.) Consider then, that without 
sobriety, it is impossible to see the Lord; yet it does not necessarily follow that with sobriety 
it is possible to see Him, because often-times something else stands in the way. Again, if we 
do all things ever so rightly, and yet do our neighbor no service, neither in that case shall 
we enter into the kingdom. Whence is this evident? From the parable of the servants entrusted 
with the talents. For, in that instance, the man’s virtue was in every point unimpaired, and 
there had been nothing lacking, but forasmuch as he was slothful in his business, he was 
rightly cast out. Nay, it is possible, even by railing only, to fall into Hell. “For whosoever” 
saith Christ, “shall say to his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” (Matt, 
v. 22.) And if a man be ever so right in all things, and yet be injurious, he shall not enter. 

And let no one impute cruelty to God, in that he excludes those who fail in this matter, 
from the kingdom of Heaven. For even with men, if any one do any thing whatsoever contrary 
to the law, he is banished from the king’s presence. And if he transgresses so much as one 
of the established laws, if he lays a false accusation against another, he forfeits his office. 
And if he commits adultery, and is detected, he is disgraced, and even though he have done 
ten thousand right acts, he is undone; and if he commits murder, and is convicted, this again 
is enough to destroy him. Now if the laws of men are so carefully guarded, how much more 
should those of God be. “But He is good,” a man says. How long are we to be uttering this 
foolish talk? foolish, I say, not because He is not good, but in that we keep thinking that His 
goodness will be available to us for these purposes, though I have again and again used ten 
thousand arguments on this subject. Listen to the Scripture, which saith, “Say not, His mercy 
is great, He will be pacified for the multitude of my sins.” (Ecclus. v. 6.) He does not forbid 
us to say, “His mercy is great.” This is not what He enjoins; rather he would have us constantly 
say it, and with this object Paul raises all sorts of arguments, but his object is what follows. 
Do not, he means, admire the loving-kindness of God with this view, with a view to sinning, 
and saying, “His mercy will be pacified for the multitude of my sins.” For it is with this object 
that I too discourse so much concerning His goodness, not that we may presume upon it, 
and do any thing we choose, because in that way this goodness will be to the prejudice of 
our salvation; but that we may not despair in our sins, but may repent. For “the goodness 
of God leadeth thee to repentance,” (Rom. ii. 4.) not to greater wickedness. And if thou be- 
come depraved, because of His goodness, thou art rather belying Him before men. I see 
many persons thus impugning the long-suffering of God; so that if thou use it not aright, 
thou shalt pay the penalty. Is God a God of loving-kindness? Yes, but He is also a righteous 
Judge. Is He one who maketh allowance for sins? True, yet rendereth He to every man ac- 


133 


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cording to his works. Doth He pass by iniquity and blot out transgressions? True, yet maketh 
He inquisition also. How then is it, that these things are not contradictions? Contradictions 
they are not, if we distinguish them by their times. He doeth away iniquity here, both by 
the laver of Baptism, and by penitence. There He maketh inquisition of what we have done 
by fire and torment. “If then,” some man may say, “I am cast out, and forfeit the kingdom, 
whether I have wrought ten thousand evil deeds or only one, wherefore may I not do all 
sorts of evil deeds?” This is the argument of an ungrateful servant; still nevertheless, we will 
proceed to solve even this. Never do that which is evil in order to do thyself good; for we 
shall, all alike fall short of the kingdom, yet in Hell we shall not all undergo the same pun- 
ishment, but one a severer, another a milder one. For now, if thou and another have “despised 
God’s goodness,” (Rom. ii. 4.) the one in many instances, and the other in a few, ye will alike 
forfeit the kingdom. But if ye have not alike despised Him, but the one in a greater, the 
other in a less degree, in Hell ye shall feel the difference. 

Now then, why, it may be said, doth He threaten them who have not done works of 
mercy, that they shall depart into the fire, and not simply into the fire, but into that which 
is “prepared for the devil and his angels?” (Matt. xxv. 41.) Why and wherefore is this? Because 
nothing so provokes God to wrath. He puts this before all terrible things; for if it is our duty 
to love our enemies, of what punishment shall not he be worthy, who turns away even from 
them that love him, and is in this respect worse than the heathen? So that in this case the 
greatness of the sin will make such an one go away with the devil. Woe to him, it is said, 
who doeth not alms; and if this was the case under the Old Covenant, much more is it under 
the New. If, where the getting of wealth was allowed, and the enjoyment of it, and the care 
of it, there was such provision made for the succoring the poor, how much more in that 
Dispensation, where we are commanded to surrender all we have? For what did not they of 
old do? They gave tithes, and tithes again upon tithes for orphans, widows, and strangers; 
whereas some one was saying to me in astonishment at another, “Why, such an one gives 
tithes.” What a load of disgrace does this expression imply, since what was not a matter of 
wonder with the Jews has come to be so in the case of the Christians? If there was danger 
then in omitting tithes, think how great it must be now. 

Again, drunkenness shall not inherit the kingdom. Yet what is the language of most 
people? “Well, if both I and he are in the same case, that is no little comfort.” What then? 
First of all, that thou and he shall not reap the same punishment; but were it otherwise, 
neither is that any comfort. Fellowship in sufferings has comfort in it, when the miseries 
have any proportion in them; but when they exceed all proportion, and carry us beyond 
ourselves, no longer do they allow of our receiving any comfort at all. For tell the man that 
is being tortured, and has entered into the flames, that such an one is undergoing the same, 
still he will not feel the comfort. Did not all the Israelites perish together? What manner of 
comfort did that afford them? Rather, did not this very thing distress them? And this was 


134 


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why they kept saying, We are lost, we are perished, we are wasted away. What manner of 
comfort then is there here? In vain do we comfort ourselves with such hopes as these. There 
is but one only comfort, to avoid falling into that unquenchable fire; but it is not possible 
for one who has fallen into it to find comfort, where there is the gnashing of teeth, where 
there is the weeping, where is the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. 
For shalt thou conceive any comfort at all, tell me, when thou art in so great tribulation and 
distress? Wilt thou then be any longer thyself? Let us not, I pray and entreat you, let us not 
vainly deceive ourselves and comfort ourselves with arguments like these; no, let us practise 
those virtues, which shall avail to save us. The object before us is to sit together with Christ, 
and art thou trifling about such matters as these? Why, were there no other sin at all, how 
great punishment ought we not to suffer for these very speeches themselves, because we are 
so insensate, so wretched, and so indolent, as, even with so vast a privilege before us, to talk 
thus? Oh! how much shalt thou have to lament, when thou shalt then consider them that 
have done good! When thou shalt behold slaves and base-born who have labored but a little 
here, there made partakers of the royal throne, will not these things be worse to thee than 
torment? For if even now, when thou seest any in high reputation, though thou art suffering 
no evil, thou regardest this as worse than any punishment, and by this alone art consumed, 
and bemoanest thyself, and weepest, and judgest it to be as bad as ten thousand deaths; what 
shalt thou suffer then? Why, even were there no hell at all, the very thought of the kingdom, 
were it not enough to destroy and consume thee? And that such will be the case, we have 
enough in our own experience of things to teach us. Let us not then vainly flatter our own 
souls with speeches like these; no, let us take heed, let us have a regard for our own salvation, 
let us make virtue our care, let us rouse ourselves to the practice of good works, that we may 
be counted worthy to attain to this exceeding glory, in Jesus Christ our Lord with whom to 
the Father, together with the Holy Spirit be glory, might, honor, now and ever, and for ages 
of ages. Amen. 


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Homily V. 

Chapter II. Verses 11, 12 

“Wherefore remember, that aforetime ye the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision 
by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that ye were at that time 
separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the 
covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” 

There are many things to show the loving-kindness of God. First, the fact, that by 
Himself He hath saved us, and by Himself through such a method as this. Secondly, that 
He hath saved us, as being what we were. Thirdly, that He hath exalted us to the place where 
we are. For all these things both contain in themselves the greatest demonstration of His 
loving-kindness, and they are the very subjects which Paul is now agitating in his Epistle. 
He had been saying, that when we were dead through our trespasses, and children of wrath, 
He saved us; He is now telling us further, to whom He hath made us equal. “Wherefore,” 
saith he, “remember;” because it is usual with us, one and all, when we are raised from a 
state of great meanness to corresponding, or perhaps a greater, dignity, not so much as even 
to retain any recollection of our former condition, being nourished in this our new glory. 
On this account it is that he says, “Wherefore remember.” — “Wherefore.” Why, “where- 
fore?” Because we have been created unto good works, and this were sufficient to induce 
us to cultivate virtue; “remember,” — for that remembrance is sufficient to make us grateful 
to our Benefactor, — “that ye were aforetime Gentiles.” Observe how he lowers the superior 
advantages of the Jews and admires the disadvantages of the Gentiles; disadvantage indeed 
it was not, but he is arguing with each respectively from their character and manner of life. 

99 zr 

“Who are called Uncircumcision.” 

The honor then of the Jews is in names, their perogative is in the flesh. For uncircum- 
cision is nothing, and circumcision is nothing. 

“By that which is called,” saith he, “Circumcision in the flesh made by hands, that ye 
were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and 


225 [“Therefore, because such exalted and unmerited benefits have been imparted to us (w. 4-10),” (Ellicott 
w. 1-7). “These benefits should move the reader to remember his former miserable heathen state in order to 
appreciate by contrast the value of his present state.” Meyer. — G.A.] 

226 [“They were those designated ‘Foreskin’ by the people who bear the name of the surgical operation per- 
formed on their flesh.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


136 


Ephesians 2:11,12 


strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope, and without God in the 
world. 227 

Ye, saith he, who were thus called by the Jews. But why when he is about to show that 
the benefit bestowed upon them consisted in this, in having fellowship with Israel, does he 
disparage the Israelitish prerogative? He does not disparage it. In essential points he enhances 
it, but only in these points, in which they had no fellowship, he disparages it. For further 
on he says, “Ye are fellow- citizens of the saints and of the household of God.” Mark, how 
far he is from disparaging it. These points, saith he, are indifferent. Never think, saith he, 
that because ye happen not to be circumcised, and are now in uncircumcision, that there is 
any difference in this. No, the real trouble was this, the being “without Christ,” the being 
“aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” Whereas this circumcision is not “the common- 
wealth.” Again, the being strangers from the covenants of promise, the having no hope to 
come, the being without God in this world, all these were parts of their condition. He was 
speaking of heavenly things; he speaks also of those which are upon earth; since the Jews 
had a great opinion of these. Thus also Christ in comforting His disciples, after saying, 
“Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven,” adds the lesser point of consolation, “for so,” saith He, “persecuted they the 
prophets which were before you.” (Matt. v. 10-12.) For this, compared with the greatness 
of the other, is far less, yet in regard to the being nigh, and believing, it is great and sufficient, 
and has much force. This then was the sharing in the commonwealth. His word is not, 
“separated,” but “alienated from the commonwealth.” His word is not, “ye took no interest 
in,” but, “ye had not so much as any part in, and were strangers.” The expressions are most 
emphatic, and indicate the separation to be very wide. Because the Israelites themselves 
were without this commonwealth, not however as aliens, but as indifferent to it, and they 
fell from the covenants, not however as strangers, but as unworthy. 

But what were “the covenants of the promise?” “To thee and to thy seed,” saith He, “will 
I give this land,” (Gen. xvii. 8.) and whatever else He promised. 

“Having no hope,” he adds, “and without God.” Though gods indeed they worshipped, 
but they were no gods: “for an idol is not any thing.” (1 Cor. x. 19.) 

Ver. 13-15. “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye that once were far off, are made nigh in the 
blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall 
of partition, having abolished in His flesh the enmity.” 



227 [“They were without church, without promise, without hope, without God, and that in the profane wicked 
world (ev tu> Koopto being in contrast to TtoXiTEicu; tou Iapar|X and like it, ethical in reference.) "A0eol may mean 
ignorant of God or forsaken by God, probably the latter.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

228 [“This too is what they should remember, but the Apostle continues the contrast in an independent sen- 
tence.” — Riddle, in Popular Commentary. — G.A.] 


137 


Ephesians 2:11,12 


Is this then the great privilege, it may be said, that we are admitted into the common- 
wealth of the Jews? What art thou saying? “He hath summed up all things that are in heaven, 
and that are in earth,” and now dost thou tell us about Israelites? Yes, he would say. Those 
higher privileges we must apprehend by faith; these, by the things themselves. “But now,” 
saith he, “in Christ Jesus, ye that once were far off, are made nigh,” in reference to the 
commonwealth. For the “far off,” and the “nigh,” are matters of will and choice only. 

For He is our peace, Who made both one.’ 

What is this, “both one?” He does not mean this, that He hath raised us to that high 
descent of theirs, but that he hath raised both us and them to a yet higher. Only that the 
blessing to us is greater, because to these it had been promised, and they were nearer than 
we; to us it had not been promised, and we were farther off than they. Therefore it is that 
he says, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.” (Rom. xv. 9.) The promise 
indeed He gave to the Israelites, but they were unworthy; to us He gave no promise, nay, 
we were even strangers, we had nothing in common with them; yet hath He made us one, 
not by knitting us to them, but by knitting both them and us together into one. I will give 
you an illustration. Let us suppose there to be two statues, the one of silver, the other of lead, 
and then that both shall be melted down, and that the two shall come out gold. Behold, thus 
hath He made the two one. Or put the case again in another way. Let the two be, one a slave, 
the other an adopted son: and let both offend Him, the one as a disinherited child, the other 
as a fugitive, and one who never knew a father. Then let both be made heirs, both trueborn 
sons. Behold, they are exalted to one and the same dignity, the two are become one, the one 
coming from a longer, the other from a nearer distance, and the slave becoming more noble 
than he was before he offended. 

“And brake down,” he proceeds, “the middle wall of partition.” 

What the middle wall of partition is, he interprets by saying, “the enmity having abolished 
in His flesh, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances.” Some indeed affirm 
that he means the wall of the Jews against the Greeks, because it did not allow the Jews to 
hold intercourse with the Greeks. To me, however, this does not seem to be the meaning, 
but rather that he calls “the enmity in the flesh,” a middle wall, in that it is a common barrier, 
cutting us off alike from God. As the Prophet says, “Your iniquities separate between 
you and Me;” (Isa. lix. 2.) for that enmity which He had both against Jews and Gentiles was, 


229 [“The emphatic pronoun is used, auroc. But He is not put in opposition to ‘ourselves’ having made the 
peace, but as Bengel says, ‘Not merely is He peacemaker, for at the cost of ‘Himself He procured 
peace.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

230 [“The only mode of taking eyOpav in harmony with the context is not as Chrysostom, “but of the enmity 
which existed between Jews and Gentiles.” — Meyer. “'Ev rfj oapKi, ‘in the flesh,’ does not belong to Tf)v eyOpav, as 
Chrysostom construes it but to Karapyriaap, ‘having abolished.’” So Meyer and Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 


138 


Ephesians 2:11,12 


as it were, a middle wall. And this, whilst the law existed, was not only not abolished, but 
rather was strengthened; “for the law,” saith the Apostle, “worketh wrath.” (Rom. iv. 15.) 
Just in the same way then as when he says in that passage, “the law worketh wrath,” he does 
not ascribe the whole of this effect to the law itself, but it is to be understood, that it is because 
we have transgressed it; so also in this place he calls it a middle wall, because through being 
disobeyed it wrought enmity. The law was a hedge, but this it was made for the sake of se- 
curity, and for this reason was called “a hedge,” to the intent that it might form an inclosure. 
For listen again to the Prophet, where he says, “I made a trench about it.” (Isa. v. 2.) And 
again, “Thou hast broken down her fences, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck 
her.” (Ps. lxxx. 12.) Here therefore it means security and so again, “I will take away the hedge 
thereof, and it shall be trodden down.” (Isa. v. 5.) And again, “He gave them the law for a 
defence.” (Isa. viii. 20.) And again, “The Lord executeth righteous acts and made known 
His ways unto Israel.” (Ps. ciii. 6, 7.) It became, however, a middle wall, no longer establishing 
them in security, but cutting them off from God. Such then is the middle wall of partition 
formed out of the hedge. And to explain what this is, he subjoins, “the enmity in His flesh 
having abolished, the law of commandments.” 

How so? In that He was slain and dissolved the enmity therein. And not in this way 
only but also by keeping it. But what then, if we are released from the former transgression, 
and yet are again compelled to keep it? Then were the case the same over again, whereas 
He hath destroyed the very law itself. For he says, “Having abolished the law of command- 
ments contained in ordinances.” Oh! amazing loving-kindness! He gave us a law that we 
should keep it, and when we kept it not, and ought to have been punished, He even abrogated 
the law itself. As if a man, who, having committed a child to a schoolmaster, if he should 
turn out disobedient, should set him at liberty even from the schoolmaster, and take him 
away. How great loving-kindness were this! What is meant by, 

‘Having abolished by ordinances? ’ 

For he makes a wide distinction between “commandments” and “ordinances.” He either 
then means “faith,” calling that an “ordinance,” (for by faith alone He saved us,) or he means 
“precept,” such as Christ gave, when He said, “But I say unto you, that ye are not to be angry 
at all.” (Matt. v. 22.) That is to say, “If thou shalt believe that God raised Him from the dead, 
thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. x. 6-9.) And again, “The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and 
in thine heart. Say not, Who shall ascend into heaven, or who shall descend into the abyss?” 
or, who hath “brought Him again from the dead?” Instead of a certain manner of life, He 


231 [The order of the Greek is as follows: tov vopov tu>v evtoXcov ev doypaaLV KaTapytjacK;. Chrysostom has 
because of the order joined ev doypaaiv with Karapyriaac;, as its modal definition. But ev Soypaarv belongs to 
evtoXcov meaning ‘the law of commandments consisting in ordinances,’ “evtoXcov denoting the ‘contents’ of 
the law and ev doypaaiv the ‘form’ in which they were given;” so Meyer. — G.A.] 


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brought in faith. For that He might not save us to no purpose, He both Himself underwent 
the penalty, and also required of men the faith that is by doctrines. 

“That he might create in Himself of the twain, one new man.” 

Observe thou, that it is not that the Gentile is become a Jew, but that both the one and 
the other are entered into another condition. It was not with a view of merely making this 
last other than he was, but rather, in order to create the two anew. And well does he on all 
occasions employ the word “create,” and does not say “change,” in order to point out the 
power of what was done, and that even though the creation be invisible, yet it is no less a 
creation than that is, and that we ought not henceforward start away from this, as from 
natural things. 

“That He might in Himself of the twain.” 

That is, by Himself. He gave not this charge to another, but Himself, by Himself, 
melted both the one and the other, and produced a glorious one, and one greater than the 
first creation; and that one, first, was Himself. For this is the meaning of “in Himself.” He 
Himself first gave the type and example. Laying hold on the one hand of the Jew, and on 
the other of the Gentile, and Himself being in the midst, He blended them together, made 
all the estrangement which existed between them to disappear, and fashioned them anew 
from above by fire and by water; no longer with water and earth, but with water and fire. 
He became a Jew by circumcision, He became accursed, He became a Gentile without the 
law, and was over both Gentiles and Jews. 

“One new man,” saith he, “so making peace.” 

Peace for them both towards God, and towards each other. For so long as they continued 
still Jews and Gentiles, they could not have been reconciled. And had they not been delivered 
each from his own peculiar condition, they would not have arrived at another and a higher 
one. For the Jew is then united to the Gentile when he becomes a believer. It is like persons 
being in a house, with two chambers below, and one large and grand one above: they would 
not be able to see each other, till they had got above. 

“Making peace,” more especially towards God; for this the context shows, for what saith 
he? 

Ver. 16. “And might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the Cross.” 

He saith, not merely “might reconcile,” (KaraAAd^p) but “might reconcile thoroughly” 
(anoKaraAAa^r] 233 ) indicating that heretofore human nature had been easily reconciled, 
as, e.g., in the case of the saints and before the time of the Law. 


232 [ev aura): “This is not equivalent to 61 eauTou, as Chrysostom, but it affirms that the unity to be brought 
about was to be founded in Christ Himself, was to have the basis of its existence and continuance in Him and 
not in any other unifying principles whatever.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

233 [Meyer says the ano strengthens the notion of reconciliation, Ellicott that it not only strengthens but 
hints at a restoration to primal unity, the citco meaning again. — G.A.] 


140 


Ephesians 2:11,12 


“In one body,” saith he, and that His own, “unto God.” How is this effected? By Himself, 
he means, suffering the due penalty. 

Through the cross having slain the enmity thereby. ’ 

Nothing can be more decisive, nothing more expressive than these words. His death, 
saith the Apostle, hath “slain” the enmity. He hath “wounded” and “killed” it, not by giving 
charge to another, nor by what He wrought only, but also by what He suffered. He does not 
say “having dissolved,” he does say “having cancelled,” but what is stronger than all, “having 
slain,” so that it never should rise again. How then is it that it does rise again? From our 
exceeding depravity. For as long as we abide in the body of Christ, as long as we are united, 
it rises not again, but lies dead; or rather that former enmity never rises again at all. But if 
we breed another, it is no longer because of Him, who hath destroyed and put to death the 
former one. It is thou, forsooth, that travailest with a fresh one. “For the mind of the flesh,” 
saith he, “is enmity against God;” (Rom. viii. 6.) if we are in nothing carnally-minded, there 
will be no fresh enmity produced, but that “peace” shall remain. 

Moral. Think then, how vast an evil is it, when God hath employed so many methods 
to reconcile us, and hath effected it, that we should again fall back into enmity! This enmity 
no fresh Baptism, but hell itself awaits; no fresh remission, but searching trial. The mind of 
the flesh is luxury and indolence, the “mind of the flesh” is covetousness and all kinds of 
sin. Why is it said the mind of the flesh? While yet the flesh could do nothing without the 
soul. He does not say this to the disparagement of the flesh, any more than when he says 
the “natural man,” (1 Cor. ii. 14.) he uses that expression to the disparagement of the soul, 
for neither body nor soul in itself, if it receive not the impulse which is far above, is able to 
achieve any thing great or noble. Hence he calls those acts which the soul performs of herself, 
“natural; rJmxiKa” and those which the body performs of itself “carnal.” Not because these 
are natural, but because, inasmuch as they receive not that direction from heaven, they 
perish. So the eyes are good, but without light, will commit innumerable errors; this, however, 
is the fault of their weakness, not of nature. Were the errors natural, then should we never 
be able to use them aright at all. For nothing that is natural is evil. Why then does he call 
carnal affections sins? Because whenever the flesh exalts herself, and gets the mastery over 
her charioteer, she produces ten thousand mischiefs. The virtue of the flesh is, her subjection 
to the soul. It is her vice to govern the soul. As the horse then may be good and nimble, and 
yet this is not shown without a rider; so also the flesh will then show her goodness, when 
we cut off her prancings. But neither again is the rider shown, if he have not skill. Nay he 
himself will do mischief yet more fearful than that before named. So that on all hands we 
must have the Spirit at hand. This being at hand will impart new strength to the rider; this 


234 [‘“After he shall have slain the enmity &c.;’ for it is inserted in the second half of the affirmation of ‘design’ 
and is correlative to Ttoitov £ipf|vr|v.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


141 


Ephesians 2:11,12 


will give beauty both to body and soul. For just as the soul, while dwelling in the body, makes 
it beautiful, but when she leaves it destitute of her own native energy and departs, like a 
painter confounding his colors together, the greatest loathsomeness ensues, every one of 
the several parts hastening to corruption, and dissolution: — so is it also when the Spirit 
forsakes the body and the soul, the loathsomeness which ensues is worse and greater. Do 
not then, because the body is inferior to the soul, revile it, for neither do I endure to revile 
the soul because it hath no strength without the Spirit. If one need say anything at all, the 
soul is deserving of the greater censure than the body; for the body indeed can do no grevious 
harm without the soul, whereas the soul can do much without the body. Because, we know, 
when the one is even wasting away, and has no wantonness, the soul is busily employed. 
Even as those sorcerers, magicians, envious persons, enchanters, especially cause the body 
to waste away. But besides this, not even luxury is the effect of the necessity of the body, but 
rather of the inattentiveness of the soul; for food, not feasting, is the object of the necessity 
of the body. For if I have a mind to put on a strong curb, I stop the horse; but the body is 
unable to check the soul in her evil courses. Wherefore then does he call it the carnal mind? 
Because it comes to be wholly of the flesh, for when she has the mastery, then she goes 
wrong, as soon as ever she has deprived herself of reason, and of the supremacy of the soul. 
The virtue therefore of the body consists in this, in its submission to the soul, since of itself 
the flesh is neither good nor evil. For what could the body ever do of itself? It is then by its 
connection that the body is good, good because of its subjection, but of itself neither good 
nor evil, with capacity, however, both for one and for the other, and having an equal tendency 
either way. The body has a natural desire, not however of fornication, nor of adultery, but 
of pleasure; the body has a desire not of feasting, but of food; not of drunkenness, but of 
drink. For in proof that it is not drunkenness that is the natural desire of the body, mark 
how, whenever you exceed the measure, when you go beyond the boundary-lines, it cannot 
hold out a moment longer. Up to this point it is of the body, but all the rest of the excesses, 
as e.g., when she is hurried away into sensualities, when she becomes stupefied, these are of 
the soul. For though the body be good, still it is vastly inferior to the soul, as lead is less of 
value than gold, and yet gold needs lead to solder it, and just so has the soul need also of the 
body. Or in the same way as a noble child requires a conductor, so again does the soul stand 
in need of the body. For, as we speak of childish things, not to the disparagement of child- 
hood, but only of those acts which are done during childhood; so also are we now speaking 
of the body. 

Yet it is in our power, if we will, no longer to be in the flesh, no, nor upon the earth, but 
in heaven, and in the Spirit. For our being here or there, is not determined so much by our 
position, as by our disposition. Of many people, at least, who are in some place, we say they 
are not there, when we say, “Thou wast not here. And again Thou art not here.” And why 
do I say this? We often say, “Thou art not at (ev) thyself, I am not at (e v) myself,” and yet 


142 



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what can be more material (a stronger instance of corporeal locality) than this, that a man 
is near to himself? And yet, notwithstanding, we say that he is not at himself. Let us then be 
in ourselves, in heaven, in the Spirit. Let us abide in the peace and in the grace of God, that 
we may be set at liberty from all the things of the flesh, and may be able to attain to those 
good things which are promised in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together 
with the Holy Spirit, be glory, and might, and honor, now and henceforth, and for ever and 
ever. Amen. 


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Ephesians 2:17-22 


Homily VI. 

Chapter II. Verses 17-22 

“And He came and preached peace to you that were far off, and peace to them that were nigh, 
for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father. So then ye are no 
more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the 
household of God, being built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Christ 
Jesus Himself being the chief corner-stone. In whom each several building, fitly framed 
together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together 
for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” 

He sent not, saith the Apostle, by the hand of another, nor did He announce these tidings 
to us by means of any other, but Himself did it in His own person. He sent not Angel nor 
Archangel on the mission, because to repair so many and vast mischiefs and to declare what 
had been wrought was in the power of none other, but required His own coming. ~ The 
Lord then took upon Himself the rank of a servant, nay, almost of a minister, “and came, 
and preached peace to you,” saith he, “that were far off, and to them that were nigh.” To the 
Jews, he means, who as compared with ourselves were nigh. “For through Him we both 
have our access in one Spirit unto the Father.” 

“Peace,” saith he, that “peace” which is towards God. He hath reconciled us. For the 
Lord Himself also saith, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you.” (John xiv. 27.) 
And again, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John xvi. 33.) And again, 
“Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name that will I do.” (John xiv. 14.) And again, “For the 
Father loveth you.” (John xvi. 27.) These are so many evidences of peace. But how towards 
the Gentiles? “Because through Him we both have our access in one Spirit unto the Father,” 
not ye less, and they more, but all by one and the same grace. The wrath He appeased by 
His death, and hath made us meet for the Father’s love through the Spirit. Mark again, the 
“in” means “by” or “through.” By Himself and the Spirit that is, He hath brought us unto 
the Father. “So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow- citizens with the 
saints.” 

Perceive ye that it is not with the Jews simply, no, but with those saintly and great men, 
such as Abraham, and Moses, and Elias? It is for the self-same city with these we are enrolled, 
for that we declare ourselves. “For they that say such things,” saith he, “make it manifest 


235 [This passage does not refer to His bodily advent upon earth, as Chrysostom interprets, but following 
the account of his crucifixion more naturally refers to a spiritual advent, namely in the Holy Spirit, (in so far as 
it is Christ’s spirit) Christ Himself came. He is our peace; yes, and He came and by His spirit and the mouths 
of the Apostles He preached it. — Meyer and Ellicott. — G.A.] 


144 


Ephesians 2:17-22 


that they are seeking after a country of their own.” (Heb. xi. 14.) No longer are we strangers 
from the saints, nor foreigners. For they who shall not attain to heavenly blessings, are for- 
eigners. “For the Son,” saith Christ, “abideth for ever.” (John viii. 35.) 

“And of the household,” he continues, “of God.” 

The very thing which they at the first had, by means of so many toils and troubles, hath 
been for you accomplished by the grace of God. Behold the hope of your calling. 

“Being built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.” 

Observe how he blends all together, the Gentiles, the Jews, the Apostles, the Prophets, 
and Christ, and illustrates the union sometimes from the body, and sometimes from the 
building: “built,” saith he, “upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets;” that is, the 
Apostles and Prophets are a foundation, and he places the Apostles first, though they are 
in order of time last, doubtless to represent and express this, that both the one and the other 
are alike a foundation, and that the whole is one building, and that there is one root. Consider, 
that the Gentiles have the Patriarchs as a foundation. He here speaks more strongly of that 
point than he does when he speaks of a “grafting in.” There he rather attaches them on. 
Then he adds, that He who binds the whole together in Christ. For the chief corner-stone 
binds together both the walls, and the foundations. 

“In whom each several building.” 

Mark, how he knits it all together, and represents Him at one time, as holding down 
the whole body from above, and welding it together; at another time, as supporting the 
building from below, and being, as it were, a root, or base. And whereas he had used the 
expression, “He created in Himself of the twain one new man;” (Eph. ii. 15.) by this he clearly 
shows us, that by Himself Christ knits together the two walls: and again, that in Him it was 
created. And “He is the first-born,” saith he, “of all creation,” that is, He Himself supports 

all things. 


236 [Field’s text has not the words, “the Jews;” but as there is excellent authority for them and they suit the 
context better, we have left them, with the Oxford translator, in our text. — G.A.] 

237 [“It is wrong to take this genitive as the genitive of apposition, as Chrysostom, for the Apostles and 
Prophets are not the foundation but have laid it. (1 Cor. iii. 10.) Nor are the Prophets here mentioned O.T. 
prophets but N.T. prophets, (cf. iii. 5; iv. 11.). — Meyer.” — G.A.] 

238 Col. i. 15. i.e. “Begotten before every creature;” “begotten of His Father before all worlds.” It is explained 
of our Lord’s divine nature by Origen, Periarch. i. 2. Tertullian in Prax. 7. in Marcion , v. 19. S. Hilar, de Trin. 
viii. 50. S. Ambros. deFid. i. 14. S. Basil in Eunom. iv. in Col. i. 15. Others understand the expression to denote 
the Only-Begotten considered as becoming the origin of the new creation, — as beginning in His flesh, as being 
the Only- Begotten, the regenerate world. Thus S. Athanasius Orat. iii. 62, 63. S. Greg. Nyss. de Perfect, p. 722. 
contra. Eunom. i. p. 24. iii. pp. 113, 114. S. Cyril, de Trin. iv. p. 518. S. August, in Rom. 56. Theodoret interprets 
the word in both ways, in loc. and in Ps. 88, 28. S. Chrysostom too, Horn. Son. Col. i. 15. may be understood ac- 
cording to either interpretation. Indeed they are quite consistent with each other. 


145 


Ephesians 2:17-22 


“In whom each several building, fitly framed together.” 

non 

Whether you speak of the roof, or of the walls, or of any other part whatsoever, He 
it is supports the whole. Thus he elsewhere calls Him a foundation. “For other foundations,” 
saith he, “can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. iii. 11.) “In 
whom each several building,” he saith, “fitly framed together.” Here he displays the perfect- 
ness of it, and indicates that one cannot otherwise have place in it, unless by living with 
great exactness. “It groweth saith he into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom ye also,” he 
adds, “are builded together.” He is speaking continuously: “Into a holy temple, for a habitation 
of God in the Spirit.” What then is the object of this building? It is that God may dwell in 
this temple. For each of you severally is a temple, and all of you together are a temple. And 
He dwelleth in you as in the body of Christ, and as in a Spiritual temple. He does not use 
the word which means our coming to God, (npocoSop) but which implies God’s bringing 
us to Himself, (npooayojyfi) for we came not out of ourselves, but we were brought nigh by 
Him. “No one,” saith Christ, “cometh unto the Father but by Me.” And again, “I am the 
way, and the truth, and the life.” (John xiv. 6.) 

He joins them with the Saints and again returns to his former image, nowhere suffering 
them to be disunited from Christ. Doubtless then, this is a building that shall go on until 
His coming. Doubtless it was for this reason that Paul said, “As a wise master builder, I laid 
a foundation.” (1 Cor. iii. 10, 11.) And again that Christ is the foundation. What then means 
all this? You observe that the comparisons have all referred to the subject-matters, and that 
we must not expound them to the very letter. The Apostle speaks from analogy as Christ 
does, where He calls the Father an husbandman, (John xv. 1 .) and Himself a root. (Rev. xxii. 
16.) 

Chap. iii. ver. 1. “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you 
Gentiles.” 

He has mentioned Christ’s great and affectionate care; he now passes on to his own, 
insignificant indeed as it is, and a very nothing in comparison with that, and yet this is 
enough to engage them to himself. For this cause, saith he, am I also bound. 240 For if my 
Lord was crucified for your sakes, much more am I bound. He not only was bound Himself, 


239 [“Chrysostom is wrong in holding that by naaa oiKoSo|ir| is signified every ‘part’ of the building (wall, 
roof, etc.,) since oiKoSo|if[ rather denotes the ‘aggregate’ of the single parts of the building. Ilaaa oiKoSopij 
means ‘every building’ and is here to be interpreted, ‘every Christian community, each congregation.’” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

240 [The Syriac Version followed by commentators from Chrysostom to Meyer makes odeopioc; predicate, 
supplying “am.” “I Paul am the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles.” This is open to grave objections. 'O 
deopoc; is rather in apposition and the broken construction is resumed at ver. 14. — Riddle, Ellicott, Alford, 
Braune. R.V. Comp. 4: 1. — G.A.] 


146 


Ephesians 2:17-22 


but allows His servants to be bound also, — “for you Gentiles.” It is full of emphasis; not only 
do we no longer loathe you, but we are even bound, saith he, for your sakes and of this ex- 
ceeding grace am I partaker. 

Ver. 2. “If so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that grace of God, which was 
given me to you- ward.” 

He alludes to the prediction addressed to Ananias concerning him at Damascus, when 
the Lord said, “Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the 
Gentiles and Kings.” (Acts ix. 15.) 

By “dispensation of grace,” he means the revelation made to him. As much as to say, “I 
learned it not from man. (Gal. i. 12.) He vouchsafed to reveal it even to me, though but an 
individual for your sakes. For Himself said unto me, saith he, “Depart, for I will send thee 
forth far hence unto the Gentiles.” (Acts xxii. 21.) “If so be that ye have heard” for a dispens- 
ation it was, a mighty one; to call one, uninfluenced from any other quarter, immediately 
from above, and to say, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” and to strike him blind with 
that ineffable light! “if so be that ye have heard,” 241 saith he, “of the dispensation of that 
grace of God which was given me to you-ward.” 

Ver. 3. “How that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore 
in few words.” 

Perhaps he had informed them of it by some persons, or had not long before been 
writing to them. Here he is pointing out that the whole is of God, that we have contributed 

nothing. For what? I ask, was not Paul himself, the wonderful, he that was so versed in the 
law, he that was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel according to the most perfect manner, 
was not he saved by grace? With good reason too does he call this a mystery, for a mystery 
it is, to raise the Gentiles in a moment to a higher rank than the Jews. “As I wrote afore,” 
saith he, “in few words,” i.e., briefly, 

Ver. 4. “Whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive.” 

Amazing! So then he wrote not the whole, nor so much as he should have written. But 
here the nature of the subject prevented it. Elsewhere, as in the case of the Hebrews (Heb. 
v. 11.) and the Corinthians, (1 Cor. iii. 2.) the incapacity of the hearers. “Whereby, when ye 
read, ye can perceive,” saith he, “my understanding in the mystery of Christ,” i.e., how I 
knew, how I understood either such things as God hath spoken, or else, that Christ sitteth 
at the right hand of God; and then too the dignity, in that God “hath not dealt so with any 


241 [“Gentle appeal, expressed in a hypothetical form and conveying the hope that his words had not been 
forgotten.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

242 [“This parenthetical remark of the Apostle refers not to a lost letter but to the section last treated of con- 
cerning the Gentiles attaining salvation.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


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Ephesians 2:17-22 


nation.” (Ps. cxlvii. 20.) And then to explain what nation this is with whom God hath thus 
dealt, he adds, 

Ver. 5. “Which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it 
hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit.” 

What then, tell me, did not the Prophets know it? How then doth Christ say, that 
Moses and the Prophets wrote “these things concerning Me?” And again, “If ye believed 
Moses, ye would believe Me.” (John v. 46.) And again, “Ye search the Scriptures, because 
ye think that in them ye have eternal life, and these are they which bear witness of me.” 
(John v. 39.) His meaning is this, either that it was not revealed unto all men, for he adds, 
“which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been 
revealed;” or else, that it was not thus made known by the very facts and realities themselves, 
“as it hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and Prophets in the Spirit.” For reflect. 
Peter, had he not been instructed by the Spirit, never would have gone to the Gentiles. For 
hear what he says, “Then hath God given unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as unto us.” 
(Acts x. 47.) That it was by the Spirit that God chose that they should receive the grace. The 
Prophets then spoke, yet they knew it not thus perfectly; so far from it, that not even did 
the Apostles, after they had heard it. So far did it surpass all human calculation, and the 
common expectation. 

Ver. 6. “That the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body and fellow 
partakers.” 244 

What is this; “fellow-heirs, and fellow-partakers of the promise, and fellow-members 
of the body?” This last is the great thing, that they should be one body; this exceeding 
closeness of relation to Him. For that they were to be called indeed, that they knew, but that 
it was so great, as yet they knew not. This therefore he calls the mystery. “Of the promise.” 
The Israelites were partakers, and the Gentiles also were fellow-partakers of the promise of 
God. 

“In Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” 

That is, by His being sent unto them also, and by their believing; for it is not said they 
are fellow-heirs simply, but “through the Gospel.” However, this indeed, is nothing so great, 
it is in fact a small thing, and it discloses to us another and greater thing, that not only men 
knew not this, but that neither Angels nor Archangels, nor any other created power, knew 


243 [Prophets here refers, as before, to New Testament prophets, and not, as Chrysostom understands it, to 
O.T. prophets. — G.A.] 

244 [“Fellow-heirs (airyiAripovopa) denotes the joint possession with the believing Jews of the eternal Messi- 
anic bliss.” — Meyer. “The following words (ouoatopa Kai aupperoxa), which seem to have been coined by the 
apostle, are well rendered by R.V., ‘fellow- members of the body, and fellow-partakers,’ and bring out more fully 
the relation of the fellow-heirs to each other.” — Riddle. — G.A.] 


148 


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it. For it was a mystery, and was not revealed. “That ye can perceive,” he saith, “my under- 
standing.” This alludes, perhaps, to what he said to them in the Acts, that he had some 
knowledge that the Gentiles also were called. This, he says, is his own knowledge, “the 
knowledge of the mystery,” which he had mentioned, viz., “that Christ will in Himself make 
of the twain one new man.” For by revelation he was instructed, both he and Peter, that they 
must not spurn the Gentiles; and this he states in his defence. 

Ver. 7. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of that grace of God which 
was given me according to the working of His power.” 

He had said, “I am a prisoner;” but now again he says, that all is of God, as he says, 
“according to the gift of His grace;” for according to the power of the gift is the dignity of 
this privilege. But the gift would not have been enough, had it not also implanted in him 
power. 

Moral. For a work indeed it was of power, of mighty power, and such as no human dili- 
gence was equal to. For he brought three qualifications to the preaching of the word, a zeal 
fervent and venturous, a soul ready to undergo any possible hardship, and knowledge and 
wisdom combined. For his love of enterprise, his blamelessness of life, had availed nothing, 
had he not also received the power of the Spirit. And look at it as seen first in himself, or 
rather hear his own words. “That our ministration be not blamed.” (2 Cor. vi. 3.) And again, 
“For our exhortation, is not of error, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile, nor a cloke of covet- 
ousness.” (1 Thes. ii. 3, 5.) Thus thou hast seen his blamelessness. And again, “For we take 
thought for things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” 
(2 Cor. viii. 21.) Then again, besides these; “I protest by that glorying in you which I have 
in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Cor. xv. 31.) And again; “Who shall separate us 
from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution?” (Rom. viii. 35.) And 
again; “In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprison- 
ments, in watchings.” (2 Cor. vi. 4, 5.) Then again, his prudence and management; “To the 
Jews I became as a Jew, to them that are without law as without law, to them that are under 
the law as under the law.” (1 Cor. ix. 20.) He shaves his head also, (Acts. xxi. 24-26.) and 
does numberless things of the sort. But the crown of all is in the power of the Holy Ghost. 
“For I will not dare to speak,” saith he, “of any things save those which Christ wrought 
through me.” (Rom. xv. 18.) And again, “For what is there wherein you were made inferior 
to the rest of the Churches?” (2 Cor. xii. 13.) And again, “For in nothing was I behind the 
very chiefest Apostles though I am nothing.” (2 Cor. xii. 11.) Without these things, the work 
had been impossible. 

It was not then by his miracles that men were made believers; no, it was not the miracles 
that did this, nor was it upon the ground of these that he claimed his high pretension, but 
upon those other grounds. For a man must be alike irreproachable in conduct, prudent and 
discreet in his dealings with others, regardless of danger, and apt to teach. It was by these 


149 


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qualifications that the greater part of his success was achieved. Where there were these, 
there was no need of miracles. At least we see he was successful in numberless such cases, 
quite antecedently to the use of miracles. But, now-a-days, we without any of these would 
fain command all things. Yet if one of them be separated from the other, it henceforth be- 
comes useless. What is the advantage of a man’s being ever so regardless of danger, if his 
life be open to censure. “For if the light that is in thee be darkness,” saith Christ, “how great 
is that darkness?” (Mat. vi. 23.) Again, what the advantage of a man’s being of an irreproach- 
able life, if he is sluggish and indolent? “For, he that doth not take his cross, and follow after 
Me,” saith He, “is not worthy of Me;” (Mat. x. 38.) and so, “The good shepherd layeth down 
his life for the sheep.” (John x. 11.) Again, what is the advantage of being both these, unless 
a man is at the same time prudent and discreet in “knowing how he ought to answer each 
one?” (Col. iv. 6.) Even if miracles be not in our power, yet both these qualities are in our 
power. Still however, notwithstanding Paul contributed so much from himself, yet did he 
attribute all to grace. This is the act of a grateful servant. And we should never so much as 
have heard of his good deeds, had he not been brought to a necessity of declaring them. 

And are we worthy then so much as even to mention the name of Paul? He, who had 
moreover grace to aid him, yet was not satisfied, but contributed to the work ten thousand 
perils; whilst we, who are destitute of that source of confidence, whence, tell me, do we expect 
either to preserve those who are committed to our charge, or to gain those who are not come 
to the fold; — men, as we are, who have been making a study of self-indulgence, who are 
searching the world over for ease, and who are unable, or rather who are unwilling, to endure 
even the very shadow of danger, and are as far distant from his wisdom as heaven is from 
earth? Hence it is too that they who are under us are at so great a distance behind the men 
of those days; because the disciples of those days were better than the teachers of these, 
isolated as they were in the midst of the populace, and of tyrants, and having all men on all 
sides their enemies, and yet not in the slightest degree dragged down or yielding. Hear at 
least what he saith to the Philippians, (Philip, i. 29.) “Because to you it hath been granted 
in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in his behalf.” And 
again to the Thessalonians, (1 Thes. ii. 14.) “For ye, brethren, became imitators of the 
churches of God which are in Judaea.” And again in writing to the Hebrews (Heb. x. 34.) he 
said, “And ye took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions.” And to the Colossians (Col. 
iii. 3.) he testifies, saying, “For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” And indeed 
to these very Ephesians he bears witness of many perils and dangers. And again in writing 
to the Galatians, (Gal. iii. 4.) he says, “Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed 
in vain.” And you see them too, all employed in doing good. Hence it was that both grace 
wrought effectually in those days, hence also that they lived in good works. Hear, moreover, 
what he writes to the Corinthians, against whom he brings charges out of number; yet does 
he not bear even them record, where he says, “Yea, what zeal it wrought in you, yea, what 


150 


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longing!” (1 Cor. vii. 11.) And again, in how many points does he bear them record on this 
subject? These things one shall not see now-a-days, even in teachers. They are all gone and 
perished. And the cause is, that love hath waxed cold, that sinners go unpunished; (for hear 
what he says writing to Timothy, (1 Tim. v. 20.) “Them that sin, reprove in the sight of all;”) 
it is that the rulers are in a sickly state; for if the head be not sound, how can the rest of the 
body maintain its vigor? But mark how great is the present disorder. They, who were living 
virtuously, and who under any circumstance might have confidence, have taken possession 
of the tops of the mountains, 245 and have escaped out of the world, separating themselves 
as from an enemy and an alien and not from a body to which they belonged. 

Plagues too, teeming with untold mischiefs, have lighted upon the Churches. The chief 
offices have become saleable. 246 Hence numberless evils are springing, and there is no one 
to redress, no one to reprove them. Nay, the disorder has assumed a sort of method and 
consistency. Has a man done wrong, and been arraigned for it? His effort is not to prove 
himself guiltless, but to find if possible accomplices in his crimes. What is to become of us? 
since hell is our threatened portion. Believe me, had not God stored up punishment for us 
there, ye would see every day tragedies deeper than the disasters of the Jews. What then? 
however let no one take offence, for I mention no names; suppose some one were to come 
into this church to present you that are here at this moment, those that are now with me, 
and to make inquisition of them; or rather not now, but suppose on Easter day any one, 
endued with such a spirit, as to have a thorough knowledge of the things they had been 
doing, should narrowly examine all that came to Communion, and were being washed [in 
Baptism] after they had attended the mysteries; many things would be discovered more 
shocking than the Jewish horrors. He would find persons who practise augury, who make 
use of charms, and omens and incantations, and who have committed fornication, adulterers, 
drunkards, and revilers, — covetous, I am unwilling to add, lest I should hurt the feelings of 
any of those who are standing here. What more? Suppose any one should make scrutiny 
into all the communicants in the world, what kind of transgression is there which he would 
not detect? and what if he examined those in authority? Would he not find them eagerly 
bent upon gain? making traffic of high places? envious, malignant, vainglorious, gluttonous, 
and slaves to money? 

Where then there is such impiety as this going on, what dreadful calamity must we not 
expect? And to be assured how sore vengeance they incur who are guilty of such sins as 


245 This alludes to the Monks who lived in the mountains about Antioch, where these Homilies seem to have 
been written. Compare Homily xiii. p. 2. vid. Adv. Oppugn, i. 7, 8. Elsewhere he blames persons who retired, as 
hiding their talents, vid. I Cor. Horn. vi. 8. 

246 The same sin is noticed among other places by S. Basil Ep. 53. S. Ambrose in Luc. lib. ix. 17-19. S. Jerome 
in Mat. xxi. 12, 13. 


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these, consider the examples of old. One single man, a common soldier, stole the sacred 
property, and all were smitten. Ye know, doubtless, the history I mean? I am speaking of 
Acham the son of Carmi, the man who stole the consecrated spoil. (Joshua vii. 1-26.) The 
time too when the Prophet spoke, was a time when their country was full of soothsayers, 
like that of the Philistines. (Isa. ii. 6.) Whereas now there are evils out of number at the full, 
and not one fears. Oh, henceforth let us take the alarm. God is accustomed to punish the 
righteous also with the wicked; such was the case with Daniel, and with the three holy 
Children, such has been the case with ten thousand others, such is the case in the wars that 
are taking place even at the present day. For the one indeed, whatever burden of sins they 
have upon them, by this means lay aside even that; but not so the other. 

On account of all these things, let us take heed to ourselves. Do ye not see these wars? 
Do ye not hear of these disasters? Do ye learn no lesson from these things? Nations and 
whole cities are swallowed up and destroyed, and myriads as many again are enslaved to 
the barbarians. 

If hell bring us not to our senses, yet let these things. What, are these too mere threats, 
are they not facts that have already taken place? Great is the punishment they have suffered, 
yet a greater still shall we suffer, who are not brought to our senses even by their fate. Is this 
discourse wearing? I am aware it is myself, but if we attend to it, it has its advantage; be- 
cause this it has not, the quality of an address to please, — nay more, nor ever shall have, but 
ever those topics which may avail to humble and to chasten the soul. For these will be to us 
the ground-work of those blessings to come hereafter, to which God grant that we may all 
attain, in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost be 
glory and might and honor, now and henceforth, and forever and ever. Amen. 


247 S. Chrysostom complains that his rich hearers, when the choice lay between theatre or race and Church, 
preferred the former; alleging the heat and crowd of the latter, vid. t. 3. Horn. iii. xii. and xv. (Ed. Ben.) I Cor. 
Horn. v. fin. We see his care to consult for the tastes and capacities of his hearers in his preaching, in Ps. 41. init. 
and t. 3. Horn. vii. n. 3. (Ed. Ben.) 


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Homily VII. 

Chapter III. Verses 8-11 

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach unto the 
Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the dispensation 

')AQ 

of the mystery, which from all ages hath been hid in God, who created all things: to the 

intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be 
made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal 
purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

They who go to the physician’s have not merely to go there and nothing further; they 
have to learn how to treat themselves, and to apply remedies. And so with us then who come 
here, we must not do this and nothing else, we must learn our lesson, the surpassing lowliness 
of Paul. What? when he was about to speak of the vastness of the grace of God, hear what 
he saith, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given.” Lowliness 
indeed it was even to bewail his former sins, although blotted out, and to make mention of 
them, and to hold himself within his true measure as where he calls himself “a blasphemer, 
and a persecutor, and injurious;” (1 Tim. i. 13.) yet nothing was equal to this: for “formerly,” 
saith he, such was I; and again he calls himself, “one born out of due time.” (1 Cor. xv. 8.) 
But that after so many great and good deeds and at that time he should thus humble himself, 
and call himself “less than the least of all,” this is indeed great and surpassing moderation. 
“To one who am less than the least of all saints;” he saith not, “than the Apostles.” So that 
that expression is less strong than this before us. There his words are, “I am not meet to be 
called an Apostle.” (1 Cor. xv. 9.) Here he says that he is even “less than the least of all saints;” 
“to me,” saith he, “who am less than the least of all saints was this grace given.” What grace? 
“To preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see 
what is the dispensation of the mystery, which from all ages hath been hid in God, who 
created all things, to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the 
heavenly places, might be made known through the Church the manifold wisdom of God.” 
True, to man it was not revealed; and art thou enlightening Angels and Archangels and 
Principalities and Powers? I am, saith he. For it was “hid in God,” even “in God who created 
all things.” And dost thou venture to utter this? I do, saith he. But whence hath this been 


248 [The words ‘through Jesus Christ’ (6ia ’Ir|aou Xpiarou) which are here found in Chrysostom’s text have 
gotten into the textus receptus from the few late and mostly cursive mss. which present the Byzantine or Con- 
stantinopolitan text and from which the textus receptus was made. Chrysostom is the chief witness of this Byz- 
antine text. Schaff, Companion to Greek Testament , pp. 205-6. The words are omitted by Aleph A B C D, most 
Versions and Editors. — G.A.] 


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made manifest to the Angels? By the Church. Again he saith, not merely the manifold 
(tioikiAoc;) but the much-manifold (koAutioikiAoc;) wisdom, that is, “the multiplied and 
varied.” What then is this? Did not Angels know it? No, nothing of it; for if Principalities 
knew it not, much less could Angels ever have known it. What then? Did not even Archangels 
know it? No, nor even they. But whence were they going to know it? Who was to reveal it? 
When we were taught it, then were they also by us. 249 For hear what the Angel saith to 
Joseph; “Thou shalt call His Name Jesus, for it is He that shall save His people from their 
sins.” (Matt. i. 21.) 

Paul himself was sent to the Gentiles, the other Apostles to the Circumcision. So that 
the more marvellous and astonishing commission was given, saith he, “to me, who am less 
than the least.” And this too was of grace, that he that was least should have the greatest 
things entrusted to him; that he should be made the herald of these tidings. For he that is 
made a herald of the greater tidings, is in this way great. 

“To preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” 

If His “riches are unsearchable,” and that too after his appearing, much more is His es- 
sence. If it is still a mystery, much more was it before it was made known; for a mystery he 
calls it on this account, because neither did the Angels know it, nor was it manifest to any 
one else. 

“And to make all men see,” saith he, “what is the dispensation of the mystery which 
from all ages hath been hid in God, who created all things.” 

Angels knew only this, that “The Lord’s portion was His people.” (Deut. xxxii. 8, 9.) 
And again it is said, “The Prince of Persia withstood me.” (Dan. x. 13.) So that it is nothing 
to be wondered at that they were ignorant of this; for if they were ignorant of the circum- 
stances of the return from the Captivity, much more would they be of these things. For this 
is the gospel, “ft is He that shall save,” it saith, “His people.” (Matt. i. 21.) Not a word about 
the Gentiles. But what concerns the Gentiles the Spirit revealeth. That they were called indeed, 
the Angels knew, but that it was to the same privileges as Israel, yea, even to sit upon the 
throne of God, this, who would ever have expected? who would ever have believed? 

“Which hath been hid,” saith he, “in God.” 

This “dispensation,” however, he more clearly unfolds in the Epistle to the Romans. “In 

ori 

God,” he continues, “who created all things by Jesus Christ.” And he does well to say “by 


249 S. Chrysostom says the same, Orat. iv.in Anom. 2. and Horn. i. in Joan. 2. (ed. Ben.) vid. also Theodoret 
in Ps. 23. 7, 8. S. Greg. Nyss. Horn. 8 in Cant. p. 596. S. Jerome in loc. [Comp. 1 Pet. i. 12, which things angels 
desire to look into. — G.A.] 

250 [“The whole divine fulness of salvation, of which Christ is the possessor and bestower, and which is of 
such a nature that the human intellect cannot explore it so as to form an adequate conception of it. This does 
not hinder the proclamation which, on the contrary, is rendered possible by revelation.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

251 [See note on these words above. — G.A.] 


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Jesus Christ;” forasmuch as He who created all things by Him, revealeth also this by Him; 
for He hath made nothing without Him; for “without Him,” it is said, “was not any thing 
made.” (John i. 30.) 

In speaking of “principalities” and “powers,” he speaks both of those above and those 
beneath. 

“According to the eternal purpose.” It hath been now, he means, brought to pass, but 
not now decreed, it had been planned beforehand from the very first. “According to the 
eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That is, according to the 
eternal foreknowledge; foreknowing the things to come, i.e., he means the ages to come; for 
He knew what was to be, and thus decreed it. According to the purpose of the ages, of those, 
perhaps, which He hath made by Christ Jesus, because it was by Christ that every thing was 
made. 

Ver. 12. “In whom we have,” saith he, “boldness, and access in confidence through our 
faith in him.” 

“Have access,” not as prisoners, he says, nor yet, as persons candidates for pardon, nor 
as sinners; for, saith he, we have even “boldness with confidence,” that is, accompanied with 
cheerful trust; arising from what source? “through our faith in Him.” 

Ver. 13. “Wherefore I ask that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which are your 
glory.” 

How is it “for them?” How is it “their glory?” It is because God so loved them, as to give 
even the Son for them, and to afflict His servants for them: for it was in order that they 
might attain so many blessings, that Paul was in prison. Surely this was from God’s exceeding 
love towards them: it is what God also saith concerning the Prophets, “I have slain them by 
the words of my mouth.” (Hos. vi. 5.) But how was it that they fainted, when another was 
afflicted? He means, they were troubled, were distressed. This also he says when writing to 
the Thessalonians, “that no man be moved by these afflictions.” (1 Thes. iii. 3.) For not only 
ought we not to grieve, but we ought even to rejoice. If ye find consolation in the forewarning, 
we tell you beforehand that here we have tribulation. And why pray? Because thus hath the 
Lord ordered. 

Ver. 14, 15. “For this cause 254 1 bow my knees unto the Father from whom every family 
in heaven and on earth is named.” 


252 [This verb, £7tolr|a£v, has been applied by many to the ‘forming’ of the purpose. (So Rev. Ver.) But it 
seems best to refer it to the ‘execution’ of it, regarded as an accomplished fact. Riddle in Popular Commentary 
and in Lange. Braune in Lange. Meyer, Ellicott. — G.A.] 

253 [Wherefore, “in view of my position as minister of such a gospel.” — Riddle. — G.A.] 

254 [This toutou yapiv is a resumption of the first verse of the chapter which was left unfinished by reason 
of the digression concerning his office as apostle of the Gentiles, which forms a section by itself, (ver. 2-13.) — G.A.] 

155 


Ephesians 3:8-11 


He here shows the spirit of his prayer for them. He does not say simply, “I pray,” but 
manifests the supplication to be heartfelt, by the “bowing of the knees.” 

“From whom every family.” 

That is, no longer, he means, reckoned, according to the number of Angels, but according 
to Him who hath created the tribes both in heaven above and in earth beneath, not as the 
Jewish. 

Ver. 16, 17. “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory that ye may 
be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell 
in your hearts through faith.” 

Mark with what insatiable earnestness he invokes these blessings upon them, that they 
may not be tossed about. But how shall this be effected? By the “Holy Spirit in your inward 
man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” How again shall this be? 

Ver. 18, 19. “To the end that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to 

occ 

apprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.” 

Thus is his prayer now again, the very same as when he began. For what were his words 
in the beginning? “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto 
you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; having the eyes of your 
heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, what the riches of the 
glory of His inheritance in the saints; and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us- 
ward who believe.” And now again he says the same. “That ye may be strong to apprehend 
with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth;” i.e., to know 
perfectly the mystery which hath been providentially ordered in our behalf:" “and the 
breadth, and length, and height, and depth;” that is, too, the immensity of the love of God, 
and how it extends every where. And he outlines it by the visible dimensions of solid bodies, 
pointing as it were to a man. He comprehends the upper and under and sides. I have thus 
spoken indeed, he would say, yet is it not for any words of mine to teach you these things; 
that must be the work of the Holy Spirit. “By His might,” saith he, is it that ye must be 
“strengthened” against the trials that await you, and in order to remain unshaken; so that 
there is no other way to be strengthened but by the Holy Ghost, both on account of trials 
and carnal reasonings. 


255 [“A sensuous illustration of the idea; ‘how great in every relation.’” — Meyer. G.A.] 

256 [“Of what are these dimensions predicated? Not of the work of redemption as Chrysostom (to puarfipiov 
to imep upcov oiKovopr]0£v) because after a new portion of the discourse is begun at ver. 14, the puarfipiov is 
not again mentioned; nor of the love of God to us, as Chrysostom again, for the ev dycmri preceding does not 
refer to God’s love; but of the love of Christ to men as shown in ver. 19.” — Meyer. So Ellicott, Braune, 
Riddle. — G.A.] 


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Ephesians 3:8-11 


But how doth Christ dwell in the hearts? Hear what Christ Himself saith, “I and my 
Father will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John xiv. 23.) He dwelleth in 
those hearts that are faithful, in those that are “rooted” in His love, those that remain firm 
and unshaken. 

“That ye may be” thoroughly “strong,” saith he; so that there is great strength needed. 

9 ^7 

“That ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.” 

What he means is this. Although the love of Christ lies above the reach of all human 
knowledge, yet shall ye know it, if ye shall have Christ dwelling in you, yea, not only shall 
know from Him this, but shall even “be filled unto all the fulness of God;” meaning by the 
“fulness of God,” either the knowledge how God is worshipped in the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Ghost, or else urging them thus to use every effort, in order to be filled with all 
virtue, of which God is full. 

Ver. 20. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask 
or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” 

That God hath done “abundantly above all that we ask or think,” is evident from what 
the Apostle himself hath written. For I indeed, saith he, pray, but He of Himself, even without 
any prayer of mine, will do works greater than all we ask, not simply “greater,” nor 
“abundantly greater,” but “exceeding abundantly.” And this is evident from “the power, 
that worketh in us:” for neither did we ever ask these things, nor did we expect them. 

Ver. 21. “Unto Him be the glory,” he concludes, “in the Church and in Christ Jesus, 
unto all generations forever and ever. Amen.” 

Well does he close the discourse with prayer and doxology; for right were it that He, 
who hath bestowed upon us such vast gifts, should be glorified and blessed, so that this is 
even a proper part of our amazement at His mercies, to give glory for the things advanced 
to us at God’s hands through Jesus Christ. 

“The glory in the Church.” Well might he say this, forasmuch as the Church alone can 
last on to eternity. 

It seems necessary to state what are meant by “families.” (narpicd) Here on earth, indeed 
there are “families” that is races sprung from one parent stock; but in heaven how can this 
be, where none is born of another? Surely then, by “families,” he means either the assem- 



257 [This entire paragraph is omitted from Field’s text. But as it is supported by several excellent authorities, 
as it is in Chrysostom’s style and as it contains a very noble thought, we have ventured to retain it. “Field seems 
to rely on the probability that the shorter text is the original. One of his main authorities seems to be a Catena 
which would naturally abridge the portions extracted especially in a writer so given to amplifications as 
Chrysostom.” We have in the main followed Field’s text in spite of this probability, but in exceptional cases, like 
the present, we have ventured to demur. — G.A.] 

258 This text has various interpretations. S. Athanasius uses it to imply that God, as Father of the Son, is the 
only true Father, and that all created paternity is a shadow of the true. Orat. in Arian. i. 23. S. Jerome says, “As 


157 


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blies and orders of heavenly beings; as also we find it written in Scripture, “the family of 
Amattari:” (1 Sam. x. 21. See Septuagint.) or else that it is from Him from whom earthly 
fathers have their name of father. 

However, he does not ask the whole of God, but demands of them also faith and love, 
and not simply love, but love “rooted and grounded,” so that neither any blasts can shake 
it, nor any thing else overturn it. He had said, that “tribulations” are “glory,” and if mine 
are so to you, he would say, much more will your own be: so that to be afflicted is no token 
of men being forsaken, for He who hath wrought so great things for us, never would do this. 

Again, if in order to understand the love of God, it was necessary for Paul to pray, and 
there was need of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who by following mere reasonings shall 
understand the nature of Christ? And why is it a difficult thing to learn that God loveth us? 
Beloved, it is extremely difficult. For some know not even this; wherefore, they even say, 
numberless evils come to be in the world; and others know not the extent of this love. Nor, 
indeed, is Paul seeking to know its extent, nor with any view to measure it; for how could 
he? but only to understand this, that it is transcendent, and great. And this very thing, he 
says, he is able to show, even from the knowledge which hath been vouchsafed to us. 

However, what is higher than the being “strengthened with might,” in order to have 
Christ within? Vast are the things we ask, saith he, yet is He able to do above even them, so 
that not only doth He love us, but doth so intensely. Be it our care therefore, beloved, to 
understand the love of God. A great thing indeed is this; nothing is so beneficial to us, 
nothing so deeply touches us: more availing this to convince our souls than the fear of hell 
itself. Whence then shall we understand it? Both from the sources now mentioned, and from 
the things which happen every day. For from what motive have these things been done for 
us? from what necessity on His part? None whatever. Over and over again he lays down 
love as the cause. But the highest degree of love is that where men receive a benefit, without 
any prior service on their part to call for it. 


He who alone is good, (Luke xviii. 19.) makes men good, and who is alone immortal, (1 Tim. vi. 16.) bestows 
immortality, and who alone is true (Rom. iii. 4.) imparts the name of truth; so too the only Father, in that He is 
Creator of all, and the cause of substance to all, gives to the rest to be called Father.” in loc. He considers that 
the Angels are said in the text to share His paternity, in a spiritual sense, as Christ says to the sick man, “Son,” 
and to His disciples, “Little children.” Theodoret seems to say the same, in loc. v. also Hooker, E. P. V. liv. 2. 
[“The reference must be to those larger classes and communities into which, as we may also infer from other 
passages (i. 21; Col. i. 16.) the celestial hosts appear to be divided; and to the races and tribes of men every one 
of which owes the very title of 7iaTpid, by which it is defined to the great 7taTf|p of all the TtarpiaL both of angels 
and men.” — Ellicott. “The Apostle seems regarding God as the Father of us His adopted children in Christ, to 
go forth into the fact that He in this relation to us is the great original and prototype of the paternal relation, 
wherever found.” Alford in Riddle in Pop. Com. — G.A.] 


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Moral. And let us then be followers of Him; let us do good to our enemies, to them that 
hate us, let us draw near to those who turn their backs upon us. This renders us like unto 
God. “For if ye love them that love you,” saith Christ, “what reward have ye?” “Do not even 
the Gentiles the same.” (Matt. v. 46.) But what is a sure proof of love? To love him that hates 
thee. I wish to give you some example, (pardon me,) and since I find it not among them 
that are spiritual, I shall quote an instance from them that are without. See ye not those 
lovers? How many insults are wreaked upon them by their mistresses, how many artifices 
practised, how many punishments inflicted: yet they are enchained to them, they burn for 
them, and love them better than their own souls, passing whole nights before their thresholds. 
From them let us take our example, not indeed to love such as those, — women, I mean, that 
are harlots; no, but thus to love our enemies. For tell me, do not harlots treat their lovers 
with greater insolence than all the enemies in the world, and squander away their substance, 
and cast insult in their face, and impose upon them more servile tasks than upon their own 
menials? And yet still they desist not, though no one hath so great an enemy in any one, as 
the lover in his mistress. Yea, this beloved one disdains, and reviles, and oftentimes maltreats 
him, and the more she is loved, the more she scorns him. And what can be more brutal than 
a spirit like this? Yet notwithstanding he loves her still. 

But possibly we shall find love like this in spiritual characters also, not in those of our 
day, (for it has “waxed cold,”) (Matt. xxiv. 12.) but in those great and glorious men of old. 
Moses, the blessed Moses, surpassed even those that love with human passion. How, and 
in what way? First, he gave up the court, and the luxury, and the retinue, and the glory at- 
tending it, and chose rather to be with the Israelites. Yet is this not only what no one else 
would ever have done, but would have even been ashamed, were another to have discovered 
him, of being found to be a kinsman of men, who were slaves and not only slaves, but were 
looked upon as even execrable. Yet was he not only not ashamed of his kindred, but with 
all his spirit defended them, and threw himself into dangers for their sake. (Acts. vii. 24.) 
How? Seeing, it is said, one doing an injury to one of them, he defended him that suffered 
the injury, and slew him that inflicted it. But this is not as yet for the sake of enemies. Great 
indeed is this act of itself, but not so great as what comes afterwards. The next day, then, he 
saw the same thing taking place, and when he saw him whom he had defended doing his 

neighbor wrong, he admonished him to desist from his wrong-doing. But he said, with great 
ingratitude, “Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” (Acts. vii. 27.) Who would not 
have taken fire at these words? Had then the former act been that of passion and frenzy, 
then would he have smitten and killed this man also; for surely he on whose behalf it was 


259 [It does not appear from the account in Exodus ii. 11 ff. or from that in Acts vii. 24 ff. that the Hebrew 
who did his brother wrong was the same that Moses had defended on the preceeding day, as Chrysostom here 
takes for granted. — G.A.] 


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done, never would have informed against him. But because they were brethren, it is said, 
he spoke thus. When he [the Hebrew] was being wronged, he uttered no such word “Who 
made thee a ruler and a judge over us?” “Wherefore saidst thou not this yesterday?” Moses 
would say, “Thy injustice, and thy cruelty, these make me a ruler and a judge.” 

But now, mark, how that some, in fact, say as much even to God Himself. Whenever 
they are wronged indeed, they would have Him a God of vengeance, and complain of His 
long suffering; but when themselves do wrong, not for a moment. 

However, what could be more bitter than words like these? And yet notwithstanding, 
after this, when he was sent to that ungrateful, to that thankless race, he went, and shrunk 
not back. Yea, and after those miracles, and after the wonders wrought by his hand, often- 
times they sought to stone him to death and he escaped out of their hands. They kept mur- 
muring too incessantly, and yet still, notwithstanding, so passionately did he love them, as 
to say unto God, when they committed that heinous sin, “Yet now if Thou wilt forgive, 
forgive their sin; and if not, blot even me also out of the book which Thou hast written.” 
(Ex. xxxii. 32.) Fain would I perish, saith he, with them, rather than without them be saved. 
Here, verily, is love even to madness, verily, unbounded love. What sayest thou, Moses? Art 
thou regardless of Heaven? I am, saith he, for I love those who have wronged me. Prayest 
thou to be blotted out? Yea, saith he, what can I do, for it is love? And what again after these 
things? Hear what the Scripture saith elsewhere; “And it went ill with Moses for their sakes.” 
(Ps. cvi. 32.) How often did they wax wanton? How often did they reject both himself and 
his brother? How often did they seek to return back to Egypt? and yet after all these things 
did he burn, yea, was beside himself with love for them, and was ready to suffer for their 
sakes. 

Thus ought a man to love his enemies; by lamentation, by unwearied endurance, by 
doing everything, by showing all favor, to aim at their salvation. 

And what again, tell me, did Paul? did he not ask even to be accursed in their stead? 
(Rom. ix. 3.) But the great pattern we must of necessity derive from the Lord, for thus doth 
He also Himself, where he saith, “For He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good,” 
(Matt. v. 45.) adducing the example from His Father; but we from Christ Himself. He came 
unto them, in His Incarnation, I mean, He became a servant for their sakes, “He humbled 
Himself, He emptied Himself, He took the form of a servant.” (Philip, ii. 7, 8.) And when 
He came unto them, He went not Himself aside “into any way of the Gentiles,” (Matt. x. 5.) 
and gave the same charge to His disciples, and not only so, but “He went about healing all 
manner of disease, and all manner of sickness.” (Matt. iv. 23.) And what then? All the rest 
indeed were astonished, and marvelled, and said, “Whence, then, hath this man all these 
things?” (Matt. xiii. 56.) But these, the objects of His beneficence, these said, “He hath a 
devil,” (John x. 20.) and “blasphemeth,” (John x. 36.) and “is mad,” and is a “deceiver,” (John 
vii. 12, and Matt, xxvii. 63.) Did he therefore cast them away? No, in no wise, but when He 


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heard these sayings, He even yet more signally bestowed His benefits upon them, and went 
straightway to them that were about to crucify Him, to the intent that He might but only 
save them. And after He was crucified, what were His words? “Father, forgive them, for they 
know not what they do.” (Lukexxiii. 34.) Both cruelly treated before this, and cruelly treated 
after this, even to the very latest breath, for them He did every thing, in their behalf He 
prayed. Yea, and after the Cross itself, what did He not do for their sakes? Did He not send 
Apostles? Did He not work miracles? Did He not shake the whole world? 

Thus is it we ought to love our enemies, thus to imitate Christ. Thus did Paul. Stoned, 
suffering unnumbered cruelties, yet did he all things for their good. Hear his own words. 
“My heart’s desire and my supplication to God is for them that they may be saved.” (Rom. 
x. 1, 2.) And again; “For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God.” And again; “If 
thou, being a wild olive tree wast grafted in, how much more shall these be grafted into their 
own olive tree?” (Rom. xi. 24.) How tender, thinkest thou, must be the affection from which 
these expressions proceed, how vast the benevolence? it is impossible to express it, impossible. 

Thus is it we ought to love our enemies. This is to love God, Who hath enjoined it, Who 
hath given it as His law. To imitate Him is to love our enemy. Consider it is not thine enemy 
thou art benefiting, but thyself; thou art not loving him, but art obeying God. Knowing 
therefore these things, let us confirm our love one to another, that we may perform this 
duty perfectly, and attain those good things that are promised in Christ Jesus our Lord, with 
Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, and honor, now, and 
for ever and ever. Amen. 


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Homily VIII. 

Chapter IV. Verses 1, 2 

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith 

ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness.” 

It is the virtue of teachers to aim not at praise, nor at esteem from those under their 
authority, but at their salvation, and to do every thing with this object; since the man who 
should make the other end his aim, would not be a teacher but a tyrant. Surely it is not for 
this that God set thee over them, that thou shouldest enjoy greater court and service, but 
that thine own interests should be disregarded, and every one of theirs built up. This is a 
teacher’s duty: such an one was the blessed Paul, a man who was free from all manner of 
vanity, and was contented to be one of the many, nay more, to be the very least even of them. 
Hence he even calls himself their servant, and so generally speaks in a tone of supplication. 
Observe him then even now writing nothing dictatorial, nothing imperious, but all chastened 
and subdued. 

“I therefore,” saith he, “the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the 
calling wherewith ye were called.” What is it, tell me, thou art beseeching? Is it that thou 
mayest gain any end for thyself? No, saith he, in no wise; it is that I may save others. And 
yet surely they who beseech, do so for things which are of importance to themselves. True; 
and this, saith he, is of importance to myself, according to what he says also elsewhere in 
his writings, “Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord;” ( 1 Thess. iii. 8.) for he ever earnestly 
desired the salvation of those whom he was instructing. 

“I, the prisoner in the Lord.” Great and mighty dignity! Greater than that of king or of 
consul, or of any other. Hence it is the very title he uses in writing to Philemon, “As Paul 
the aged, and now a prisoner also of Jesus Christ.” (Philemon 9.) For nothing is so glorious 
as a bond for Christ’s sake, as the chains that were bound around those holy hands; more 
glorious is it to be a prisoner for Christ’s sake than to be an Apostle, than to be a Teacher, 
than to be an Evangelist. Is there any that loveth Christ, he will understand what I am saying. 
Is any transported and fired with devotion for the Lord, he knows the power of these bonds. 
Such an one would rather choose to be a prisoner for Christ’s sake, than to have the Heavens 
for his dwelling. More glorious than any gold were the hands he was showing to them, yea, 
than any royal diadem. Yes, no jewelled tiara bound around the head invests it with such 
glory, as an iron chain for Christ’s sake. Then was the prison more glorious than palaces, 
yea, than heaven itself. Why say I than palaces? Because it contained a prisoner of Christ. 
Is there any that loveth Christ, he knows the dignity of this title, he knows what a virtue is 
this, he knows how great a boon he bestowed upon mankind, even this, to be bound for His 


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sake. More glorious this, perhaps to be bound for His sake, than “to sit at His right hand,” 
(Matt. xx. 21.) more august this, than to “sit upon the twelve thrones.” (Matt. xix. 28.) 

And why speak I of human glories? I am ashamed to compare earthly riches and golden 
attire to these bonds. But forbearing to speak of those great and heavenly glories, even were 
the thing attended with no reward at all, this alone were a great reward, this an ample recom- 
pense, to suffer these hardships for the sake of the Beloved. They that love, even though it 
be not God, but man, they know what I am saying, since they are more delighted to suffer 
for, than to be honored by those they love. But to fully understand these things belongs to 
the holy company, the Apostles, I mean, and them alone. For hearken to what the blessed 
Luke saith, (Acts v. 11.) “that they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that 
they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.” To all others indeed it seems 
to be foolishness, that to suffer dishonor is to be counted worthy, that to suffer dishonor is 
to rejoice. But to them that understand the love of Christ, this is esteemed of all things the 
most blessed. Were any to offer me my choice, the whole Heaven or that chain, that chain 
I would prefer. Were any to ask whether he should place me on high with the Angels, or 
with Paul in his bonds, the prison I would choose. Were any about to change me into one 
of those powers, that are in Heaven, that are round about the throne, or into such a prisoner 
as this, such a prisoner I would choose to be. Nothing is more blessed than that chain. Would 
that I could be at this moment in that very spot, (for the bonds are said to be still in existence,) 
to behold and admire those men, for their love of Christ. Would that I could behold the 
chains, at which the devils fear and tremble, but which Angels reverence. Nothing is more 
noble than to suffer any evil for Christ’s sake. I count not Paul so happy, because he was 
“caught up into Paradise,” (2 Cor. xii. 4.) as because he was cast into the dungeon; I count 
him not so happy, because he heard “unspeakable words,” as because he endured those 
bonds. I count him not so happy, because he was “caught up into the third Heaven,” (2 Cor. 
xii. 2.) as I count him happy for those bonds’ sake. For that these are greater than those, 
hear how even he himself knew this; for he saith not, I who “heard unspeakable words,” 
beseech you: but what? “I, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you.” Nor yet are we to wonder, 
though he inscribes not this in all his Epistles, for he was not always in prison, but only at 
certain times. 

I deem it more desirable to suffer evil for Christ’s sake, than to receive honor at Christ’s 
hands. This is transcendent honor, this is glory that surpasseth all things. If He Himself who 
became a servant for my sake, and “emptied” (Philip, ii. 7.) His glory, yet thought not 
Himself so truly in glory, as when He was crucified for my sake, what ought not I to endure? 
For hear His own words: “Father, glorify Thou Me.” (John xvii. 1.) What is this thou art 
saying? Thou art being led to the cross with thieves and plunderers of graves, thou endurest 
the death of the accursed; Thou art about to be spit upon and buffeted; and callest Thou 


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this glory? Yes, He saith, for I suffer these things for My beloved ones, and I count them 
altogether glory. If He who loved the miserable and wretched calleth this glory, not to be 
on His Father’s throne, nor in His Father’s glory, but in dishonor, — if this was His glory, 
and if this He set before the other: much more ought I to regard these things as glory. Oh! 
those blessed bonds! Oh! those blessed hands which that chain adorned! Not so worthy 
were Paul’s hands when they lifted up and raised the lame man at Lystra, as when they were 
bound around with those chains. Had I been living in those times, how eagerly would I have 
embraced them, and put them to the very apple of mine eyes. Never would I have ceased 
kissing those hands which were counted worthy to be bound for my Lord. Marvellest thou 
at Paul, when the viper fastened on his hand, and did him no hurt? Marvel not. It reverenced 
his chain. Yea, and the whole sea reverenced it; for then too was he bound, when he was 
saved from shipwreck. Were any one to grant me power to raise the dead at this moment, 
I would not choose that power, but this chain. Were I free from the cares of the Church, 
had I my body strong and vigorous, I would not shrink from undertaking so long a journey, 
only for the sake of beholding those chains, for the sake of seeing the prison where he was 
bound. The traces indeed of his miracles are numerous in all parts of the world, yet are they 
not so dear as those of his scars. (Gal. vi. 17.) Nor in the Scriptures does he so delight me 
when he is working miracles, as when he is suffering evil, being scourged, and dragged about. 
Insomuch that from his body were carried away handkerchiefs or aprons. Marvellous, truly 
marvellous, are these things, and yet not so marvellous as those. “When they had laid many 
stripes upon him, they cast him into prison.” (Acts xvi. 23.) And again; being in bonds, “they 
were singing hymns unto God.” (Acts xvi. 25.) And again; “They stoned him, and dragged 
him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.” (Actsxiv. 19.) Would ye know how mighty 
a thing is an iron chain for Christ’s sake, bound about His servant’s body? Hearken to what 
Christ Himself saith, “Blessed are ye.” (Mat. v. 11.) Why? When ye shall raise the dead? No. 
But why? When ye shall heal the blind? Not at all. But why then? “When men shall reproach 
you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.” (Matt, 
v. 11.) Now, if to be evil spoken of renders men thus blessed, to be evil entreated, what may 
not that achieve? Hearken to what this blessed one himself saith elsewhere; “Henceforth 
there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness:” (2 Tim. iv. 8.) and yet, more glorious 
than this crown is the chain: of this, saith he, the Lord will count me worthy, and I am in 
no wise inquisitive about those things. Enough it is for me for every recompense, to suffer 
evil for Christ’s sake. Let Him but grant me to say, that “I fill up that which is lacking of the 
afflictions of Christ:” (Col. i. 24.) and I ask nothing further. 


260 [Christ referred to the glorification with His Father which was to follow his humiliation. Cf. John xvii. 5. 
Philip, ii. 9. — G.A.] 


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Peter also was counted worthy of this chain; for he, we read, was bound, and delivered 
to soldiers, and was sleeping. (Acts xii. 6.) Yet he rejoiced and was not diverted from his 
right mind and he fell into deep sleep which could not have been, had he been in any great 
anxiety. However, he was sleeping, being between two soldiers: and an Angel came unto 
him, and smote him on the side, and raised him up. Now then, were any one to say to me, 
Which wouldest thou? Wouldest thou be the Angel that struck Peter, or Peter that was de- 
livered? I would rather choose to be Peter, for whose sake even the Angel came, yea, I would 
that I might enjoy those chains. And how is it, say ye, that, as being released from great evils, 
he prays? Marvel not: he prays, because he is afraid lest he should die; and of dying he is 
afraid, because he would fain have his life to be still a subject for further sufferings. For 
hearken to what the blessed Paul himself also saith. (Philip, i. 23, 24.) “To depart, and to be 
with Christ, is very far better;” “Yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake.” This 
he calls even a favor where he writes, and says, “To you it hath been granted, (as a favor 
exapio0r|) in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer in His behalf.” 
(Philip, i. 29.) So that this latter is greater than the other: for He gave it of His free grace; 
verily, a favor it is, exceeding great, yea greater than any one of those, greater than to make 
the sun and the moon stand still, than to move the world! greater this than to have power 
over devils, or to cast out devils. The devils grieve not so much at being cast out by the faith 
which we exert, as when they behold us suffering any evil, and imprisoned for Christ’s sake. 
For this increases our boldness. Not for this is it a noble thing to be in bonds for Christ’s 
sake that it procures for us a kingdom; it is that it is done for Christ’s sake. Not for this do 
I bless those bonds, for that they conduct on to Heaven; it is because they are worn for the 
sake of the Lord of Heaven. How great a boast to know that he was bound for Christ’s sake! 
How great a happiness, how high an honor, how illustrious a distinction! Fain would I ever 
be dwelling on these subjects. Fain would I cling to this chain. Fain would I, though in 
reality I have not the power, yet still in idea, bind this chain round my soul by a temper like 
his. 

“The foundations of the prison-house,” we read, “were shaken” where Paul was bound, 
“and every one’s bands were loosed.” (Acts xvi. 26.) Beholdest thou then in bonds a nature 
that can dissolve bonds themselves? for as the Lord’s death put death itself to death, so also 
did Paul’s bonds loose the men in bonds, shake the house of bondage, open the doors. Yet 
is not this the natural effect of bonds, but the very reverse; it is to keep him that is bound in 
safety, not to open for him the prison walls. No, of bonds then in general this is not the 
nature, but of those bonds which are for Christ’s sake, it is. “The jailor fell down before Paul 
and Silas.” (Acts xvi. 29.) And yet neither is this again the effect of chains in general, to lay 
the binders at the feet of the bound: no, but, on the contrary, to put these last under the 
hands of the former. Whereas here, the man who was free was under the feet of the man 


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who had been bound. The binder was beseeching him whom he had bound to release him 
from his fear. Tell me, was it not thou that didst bind him? Didst thou not cast him into the 
inner prison? Didst thou not make his feet fast in the stocks? Why tremblest thou? Why art 
thou troubled? Why weepest thou? Why hast thou drawn thy sword? Never bound I, saith 
he, aught like this! I knew not that the prisoners of Christ had power so mighty as this. What 
sayest thou? They received power to open Heaven, and should they not be able to open a 
prison? They loosed them that were bound by evil spirits, and was a piece of iron likely to 
conquer them? Thou knowest not the men. And therefore also wert thou pardoned. That 
prisoner is Paul, whom all the Angels reverence. He is Paul, whose very handkerchiefs and 
napkins cast out devils, and chase diseases to flight. And sure the bond which is of the devil 
is adamantine, and far more indissoluble than iron; for this indeed binds the soul, the other 
only the body. He therefore that released souls that were bound, shall not he have power to 
release his own body? He that could burst asunder the bonds of evil spirits, shall he not 
unloose a rivet of iron? He that by his very garments unloosed those prisoners, and released 
them from the spell of devils, shall not he of himself set himself at liberty? For this was he 
first bound himself, and then loosed the prisoners, that thou mightest understand that 
Christ’s servants in bonds possess a power far greater than they that are at liberty. Had one 
who was at liberty wrought this, then had it not been so marvellous. So then the chain was 
not a token of weakness, but rather of a greater power, and thus is the saint’s might more 
illustriously displayed, when, even though in bonds, he overpowers them that are at liberty, 
when he that is in bonds sets not only himself at liberty, but them that are in bonds also. 
Where is the use of walls? What the advantage of thrusting him into the inner prison, 
whereas he opened the outer also? and why too was it done in the night? and why with an 
earthquake? 

Oh, bear with me a little, and give me leave while I refrain from the Apostle’s words, 
and revel in the Apostle’s deeds, and banquet on Paul’s chain; grant me still longer to dwell 
upon it. I have laid hold on that chain, and no one shall part me from it. More securely at 
this moment am I bound by affection, than was he then in the stocks. This is a bond which 
no one can loose, for it is formed of the love of Christ; this neither the Angels, no, nor the 
kingdom of Heaven, has power to unloose. We may hear Paul’s own words; (Rom. viii. 38, 
39.) “Neither angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 
nor height, nor depth, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ 
Jesus our Lord.” 

Now then, why did the event take place at midnight? And wherefore too with an 
earthquake? Hearken, and marvel at the providential orderings of God. Every one’s bands 
were loosed, and the doors were opened. And yet was this done only for the jailor’s sake, 
not with a view to display, but with a view to his salvation: for that the prisoners knew not 
that they were loosed, is evident from Paul’s exclamation; for what said he? “He cried with 


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a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm, for we are all here.” (Acts xvi. 28.) But never would 
they all have been within, had they seen the doors opened, and themselves set at liberty. 
They who were used to cut through walls, and to scale roofs and parapets, and to venture 
on all sorts of attempts in chains, never would have endured to remain within, with their 
bands loosed, and the doors opened, with the jailer himself asleep; no, but the bond of sleep 
was to them instead of the bonds of iron. So that the thing took place and yet no damage 
ensued from the miracle to the jailer who was to be saved. And besides this too, they that 
are bound are bound most securely in the night, not in the day; and so accordingly might 
we behold them bound again with all care and sleeping: but had these things been done in 
the day time, there would have been great stir and tumult. 

Then again, wherefore was the building shaken? It was to arouse the jailer, to behold 
what was done, for he alone was worthy of being saved. And do thou too, behold, I pray, 
the exceeding greatness of the grace of Christ, for well were it in the midst of Paul’s bonds 
to make mention also of the grace of God, nay indeed the very bonds themselves are of the 
gift and grace of God. Some indeed there are who complain “Why was the jailer saved?” 
and from those very circumstances, for which they ought to admire the loving-kindness of 
God they find fault with it. Nor is it anything to be wondered at. Such are those sickly persons, 
that find fault even with the food that nourishes them, which they ought to prize, and who 
affirm that honey is bitter: and those dimsighted persons who are darkened by the very 
thing which ought to enlighten them. Not that these effects arise from the nature of the 
objects themselves, but from the weakness of the persons who are unable to use them 
properly. What, however, was I saying? When they ought to be admiring God’s loving- 
kindness, in that He took a man who had fallen into the most desperate wickedness, and 
was making him better, they find fault: “Why, how was it that he did not take the thing to 
be the work of witchcraft and of sorcery, and confine them the more closely, and cry out?” 
Many things conspired to prevent this; first, that he heard them singing praises to God. And 
sorcerers never would have been singing such hymns as those, for he heard them, it is said, 
singing praises unto God. Secondly, the fact, that they themselves did not take flight, but 
even withheld him from killing himself. Now had they done it for their own sake, they 
never would have remained still within; they would themselves have escaped first of all. 
Great again was their kindness also; they withheld the man from killing himself, even him 
who had bound them, thus all but saying unto him, “Truly, thou didst bind us with all safety, 
and most cruelly, that thou thyself mightest be loosed from the most cruel of all bonds.” 
For every one is shackled with the chains of his own sins; and those bonds are accursed, 
whereas these for Christ’s sake are blessed, and worth many an earnest prayer. For that these 
bonds can loose those other bonds of sin, he showed to us by things which are matters of 
sense. Didst thou behold them released, who had been bound with iron? Thou shalt see 
thyself also delivered from other galling bonds. These bonds, the prisoners’ bonds, not those 


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of Paul, I mean, are the effect of those other bonds, the bonds of sins. They who were confined 
within, were doubly prisoners, and the jailer himself was a prisoner. They indeed were bound 
both with iron and with sins, he with sins only. Them did Paul loose to assure the faith of 
him, for the chains which he loosed were visible. And thus too did Christ Himself; but rather 
in the inverse order. In that instance, there was a double palsy. What was it? There was that 
of the soul by sins, and also that of the body. What then did the Lord do? “Son,” saith He, 
“be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven.” (Matt. ix. 3-6.) He first loosed the bonds of the 
real and true palsy, and then proceeds to the other: for when “certain of the Scribes said 
within themselves, This man blasphemeth; Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Wherefore 
think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven, or to say, 
Arise, and walk? But, that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive 
sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thy 
house.” Having wrought the invisible miracle, He confirmed it by the visible, the spiritual 
by the bodily cure. And why did He do thus? That it might be fulfilled, which is spoken, 
(Luke xix. 22.) “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.” For what 
said they? “None can forgive sins, but God alone.” Of course, therefore, no Angel, nor 
Archangel, nor any other created power. This ye have yourselves confessed. And what then 
ought to be said? If I shall be shown to have forgiven sins, it is fully evident that I am God. 
However, He said it not thus, but what said He? “But that ye may know that the Son of Man 
hath power on earth to forgive sins; then saith He to the sick of the palsy, Arise, and take 
up thy bed, and go unto thy house.” (Matt. ix. 6.) When therefore, He would say, I work the 
more difficult miracle, it is plain that there is no pretext left you, no room for gainsaying 

'IfZI 

about the easier one. Hence it was that He wrought the invisible miracle first, because 
there were many gainsayers; and then He led them from the invisible to the visible itself. 

Surely then the faith of the jailer was no light or hasty faith. He saw the prisoners. And 
he saw nothing, he heard nothing wrong; he saw that nothing was done by sorcery, for they 
were singing hymns unto God. He saw that every thing done proceeded from overflowing 
kindness, for they did not avenge themselves against him, although they had it in their 
power; for it was in their power to rescue both themselves and the prisoners, and escape; 
and if not the prisoners, at all events themselves; but they did not do this. Thus did they 
challenge his reverence, not only by the miracle, but also by their behavior. For how did 
Paul cry out? “He cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm, for we are all here.” 
Thou seest at once his freedom from vain-glory and arrogance, and his fellow-feeling. He 


261 [“The one requires no less power than the other, the same divine e^ouoia enables both to be done. But 
that ye may know that I was entitled to say the one, I will prove to you that I have the power to say the oth- 
er.” — Meyer. Since neither is easier but each alike requires divine power, if I can prove to you that I have this 
divine power to do one, that will prove to you that I have power to do the other. — G.A.] 


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said not, “It is for us these wonders have been wrought,” but as though he were merely one 
of the prisoners, he said, “For we are all here.” And yet, even though they had not before 
this loosed themselves, nor had done so by means of the miracle, still they might have been 
silent, and have set all that were bound at liberty. For had they held their peace, and had 
they not with their loud crying stayed his hand, he would have thrust the sword through 
his throat. Wherefore also Paul cried out, because he had been cast into the inner ward: as 
though he had said, “To thine own injury hast thou done this, that thou hast thrust in so 
far those that could deliver thee from the danger.” However they imitated not the treatment 
they had received at his hands; though, had he died, all would have escaped. Thou seest that 
they chose rather to remain in bonds, than to suffer him to perish. Hence too might he 
reason within himself, “Had they been sorcerers, doubtless they would have set the others 
at liberty, and have released themselves from their bonds:” (for it is likely that many such 
had also been imprisoned.) He was the more amazed, in that having often received sorcerers 
in charge, he had yet witnessed nothing done like this. A sorcerer never would have shaken 
the foundations, so as to startle the jailer from sleep, and thus render his own escape more 
difficult. 

Now, however, let us proceed to look at the jailor’s faith. “And,” saith the Scripture, “he 
called for lights and sprang in, and trembling for fear fell down before Paul and Silas, and 
brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” He grasped fire and sword, 
and cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.” (Acts xvi. 29-31.) “This is not the act 
of sorcerers,” he would say, “to deliver a doctrine like this. No mention any where here of 
an evil spirit.” Thou seest how worthy he was to be saved: for when he beheld the miracle, 
and was relieved from his terror, he did not forget what most concerned him, but even in 
the midst of so great peril, he was solicitous about that salvation which concerned his soul: 
and came before them in such a manner as it was meet to come before teachers: he fell down 
at their feet. “And they spake,” it continues, “the word of the Lord, unto him with all that 
were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; 
and was baptized, he and all his, immediately.” (Acts xvi. 32, 33.) Observe the fervency of 
the man! He did not delay; he did not say, “Let day come, let us see, let us look about us;” 
but with great fervency, he was both himself baptized, and all his house. Yes, not like most 
men now-a-days, who suffer both servants and wives and children to go unbaptized. Be 
ye, I beseech you, like the jailor. I say not, in authority, but in purpose; for what is the benefit 
of authority, where purpose is weak? The savage one, the inhuman one, who lived in the 
practice of unnumbered wrongs and made this his constant study, has become all at once 
so humane, so tenderly attentive. “He washed,” it is said, “their stripes.” 


262 ct|iur|TOU(;. 


169 


Ephesians 4:1,2 


And mark, on the other hand, the fervency of Paul also. Bound, scourged, thus he 
preached the Gospel. Oh, that blessed chain, with how great travail did it travail that night, 
what children did it bring forth! Yea of them too may he say, “Whom I have begotten in 
my bonds.” (Philem. x.) Mark thou, how he glories, and will have the children thus begotten, 
to be on that account the more illustrious! Mark thou, how transcendant is the glory of 
those bonds, in that they give lustre not only to him that wore them, but also to them who 
were on that occasion begotten by him. They have some advantage, who were begotten in 
Paul’s bonds, I say not in respect of grace, (for grace is one and the same,) nor in respect of 
remission, (for remission is one and the same to all,) but in that they are thus from the very 
outset taught to rejoice and to glory in such things. “The same hour of the night,” it is said, 
“he took them, and washed their stripes, and was baptized.” 

And now then behold the fruit. He straightway recompensed them with his carnal things. 
“He brought them up into his house, and set meat before them, and rejoiced greatly with 
all his house, having believed in God.” For what was he not ready to do, now that by the 
opening of the prison doors, heaven itself was opened to him? He washed his teacher, he 
set food before him, and rejoiced. Paul’s chain entered into the prison, and transformed all 
things there into a Church; it drew in its train the body of Christ, it prepared the spiritual 
feast, and travailed with that birth, at which Angels rejoice. And was it without reason then 
that I said that the prison was more glorious than Heaven? For it became a source of joy 
there; yes, if “there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” (Luke xv. 7.) if, “where 
two or three are gathered together in His Name, there is Christ in the midst of them;” (Matt, 
xviii. 20.) how much more, where Paul and Silas, and the jailor and all his house were, and 
faith so earnest as theirs! Observe the intense earnestness of their faith. 

But this prison has reminded me of another prison. And what then is that? It is that 
where Peter was. Not, however, that any thing like this took place there. No. He was delivered 
to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him and he sang not, he watched not, but he slept; 
neither, again, had he been scourged. And yet was the peril greater, for in the case before 
us indeed the end was accomplished, and the prisoners Paul and Silas, had undergone their 
punishment; but in his case it was yet to come. So that though there were no stripes to torture 
him, yet was there the anticipation of the future to distress him. And mark too the miracle 
there. “Behold, an angel of the Lord,” it is related, “stood by him, and a light shined in the 
cell; and he smote Peter on the side, and awoke him, saying, Rise up quickly. And his chains 
fell off from his hands.” (Acts xii. 7.) In order that he might not imagine the transaction to 
be the work of the light alone, he also struck Peter. Now no one saw the light, save himself 
only, and he thought it was a vision. So insensible are they that are asleep to the mercies of 
God. “And the angel,” it proceeds, “said unto him, Gird thyself and bind on thy sandals; 
and he did so. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he 
went out and followed, and he wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but 


170 


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thought he saw a vision. And when they were past the first and the second ward, they came 
unto the iron gate, that leadeth unto the city, which opened to them of his own accord; and 
they went out, and passed on through one street; and straightway the angel departed from 
him.” (Acts xii. 8-10.) Why was not the same thing done here as was done in the case of 
Paul and Silas? Because in that case they were intending to release them. On that account 
God willed not that they should be released in this manner. Whereas in blessed Peter’s case, 
they were intending to lead him forth to execution. But what then? Would it not have been 
far more marvellous, some one may say, had he been led forth, and delivered over into the 
king’s hands, and then had been snatched away from the very midst of his imminent peril, 
and sustained no harm? For thus moreover, neither had the soldiers perished. Great is the 
question which has been raised upon this matter. What! did God, it is said, save His own 
servant with the punishment of others, with the destruction of others? Now in the first place, 
it was not with the destruction of others; for this did not arise from the ordering of provid- 
ence, but arose from the cruelty of the judge. How so? God had so providentially ordered 
it, as that not only these men need not perish, but moreover that even he, the judge, should 
have been saved, just as in this case of the jailor. But he did not use the boon aright. “Now 
as soon as it was day,” it continues, “there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was 
become of Peter.” And what then? Herod makes strict inquiry into the matter, “and he ex- 
amined the guards,” it is related, “and commanded that they should be put to death.” (Acts 
xii. 18-19.) Now, indeed, had he not examined them, there might have been some excuse 
for executing them. Whereas, as it is, he had them brought before him, he examined them, 
he found that Peter had been bound, that the prison had been well secured, that the keepers 
were before the doors. No wall had been broken through, no door had been opened, nor 
was there any other evidence whatever of false dealing. He ought upon this to have been 
awed by the power of God, which had snatched Peter from the very midst of perils, and to 
have adored Him who was able to do such mighty works. But, on the contrary, he ordered 
those men off to execution. How then in this case is God the cause? Had He indeed caused 
the wall to be broken through, and thus had extricated Peter, possibly the deed might have 
been put to the account of their negligence. But if He so providentially ordered it, as that 
the matter should be shown to be the work not of the evil agency of man, but of the miracu- 
lous agency of God, why did Herod act thus? For had Peter intended to flee, he would have 
fled as he was, with his chains on. Had he intended to fly, in his confusion he never would 
have had so great forethought as to take even his sandals, but he would have left them. 
Whereas, as it is, the object of the Angel’s saying unto him, “Bind on thy sandals,” was that 
they might know that he had done the thing not in the act of flight, but with full leisure. 
For, bound as he was, and fixed between the two soldiers, he never would have found suffi- 
cient time to unbind the chains also, and especially as he too, like Paul, was in the inner 
ward. Thus then was the punishment of the keepers owing to the unrighteousness of the 


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judge. For why did not the Jews act in the same way? For now again I am reminded of 
yet another prison. The first was that at Rome, next, was this at Caesarea, now we come to 
that at Jerusalem . 264 When then the chief Priests and the Pharisees heard from those whom 
they had sent to the prison to bring Peter out, that “they found no man within,” but both 
doors “closed,” and “the keepers standing at the doors,” why was it that they not only did 
not put the keepers to death, but, so far from it, “they were much perplexed concerning 
them whereunto this would grow.” Now if the Jews, murderous as they were in their designs 
against them, yet entertained not a thought of the kind, much more shouldest not thou, 
who didst every thing to please those Jews. For this unrighteous sentence vengeance quickly 
overtook Herod. 

But now if any complain of this, then complain too about those who are killed on the 
highway, and about the ten thousand others who are unjustly put to death, and further, of 
the infants also that were slaughtered at the time of Christ’s birth; for Christ also, according 
to what thou allegest, was the cause of their deaths. But it was not Christ, but rather the 
madness and tyranny of Herod’s father. Dost thou ask, Why then did He not snatch Him 
out of Herod’s hands? True, He might have done so, but there would have been nothing 
gained by so doing. How many times, at least, did Christ escape even from the grasp of their 
hands? And yet what good did this do to that unfeeling people? Whereas here there is even 
much profit arising to the faithful from what was done. For as there were records made, 
and the enemies themselves bore testimony to the facts, the testimony was above suspicion. 
As therefore in that instance the mouths of the enemies were stopped in no other way 
whatever, but only by the persons who came acknowledging the facts, so was it also here. 
For why did the jailor here do nothing like what Herod did? Nay, and the things which 
Herod witnessed were not at all less wonderful than those which this man witnessed. So far 
as wonder goes, it is no less wonderful to be assured that a prisoner came out when the 
doors were closed, than it is to behold them set open. Indeed this last might rather have 
seemed to be perhaps a vision of the imagination, the other never could, when exactly and 
circumstantially reported. So that, had this man been as wicked as Herod, he would have 
slain Paul, as Herod did the soldiers; but such he was not. 

If any one should ask, ‘Why was it that God permitted the children also to be murdered?’ 
I should fall, probably, into a longer discourse, than was originally intended to be addressed 
to you. 


263 [The Jews, when they imprisoned the Apostles as recorded in Acts v. 19. — G.A.] 

264 [The prison which suggested this discourse (Eph. iv. 1.) was that of Paul in Rome, but the next one 
mentioned and discoursed of by St. Chrysostom was the one in which Paul was at Philippi, Acts xvi., the next 
one was the prison where Peter was at Jerusalem, and this last one (Acts v. 19.) at Jerusalem also. No mention 
has been made of any imprisonment at Caesarea. — G.A.] 


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At this point, however, let us terminate our discourse, with many thanks to Paul’s chain, 
for that it has been made to us the source of so many blessings, and exhorting you, should 
ye have to suffer any thing for Christ’s sake, not only not to repine, but to rejoice, as the 
Apostles did, yea, and to glory; as Paul said, “Most gladly, therefore will I rather glory in my 
infirmities,” (2 Cor. xii. 9.) for because of this it was that he heard also those words, “My 
grace is sufficient for thee.” Paul glories in bonds; and dost thou pride thyself in riches? The 
Apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to be scourged, and dost thou seek for ease 
and self-indulgence? On what ground then, dost thou wish to attain the same end as they, 
if here on earth thou art traveling the contrary road from them? “And now,” saith Paul, “I 
go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there; 
save that the Holy Ghost testifieth unto me in every city, saying, that bonds and afflictions 
abide me.” (Acts xx. 22.) And why then dost thou set out, if bonds and afflictions abide thee? 
For this very reason, saith he, that I may be bound for Christ’s sake, that I may die for His 
sake. “For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 
(Acts xxi. 13.) 

Moral. Nothing can be more blessed than that soul. In what does he glory? In bonds, 
in afflictions, in chains, in scars; “I bear branded on my body,” saith he, “the marks of Jesus,” 
(Gal. vi. 17.) as though they were some great trophy. And again, “For because of the hope 
of Israel,” saith he, “I am bound with this chain.” (Acts xxviii. 20.) And again, “For which I 
am an ambassador in chains.” (Eph. vi. 20.) What is this? Art thou not ashamed, art thou 
not afraid going about the world as a prisoner? Dost thou not fear lest any one should charge 
thy God with weakness? lest any one should on this account refuse to come near thee and 
to join the fold? No, saith he, not such are my bonds. They can shine brightly even in kings’ 
palaces. “So that my bonds,” saith he, “became manifest in Christ, throughout the whole 
praetorian guard: and most of the brethren in the Lord, being confident through my bonds, 
are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.” (Philip, i. 13, 14.) Behold 
ye a force in bonds stronger than the raising of the dead. They beheld me bound, and they 
are the more courageous. For where bonds are, there of necessity is something great also. 
Where affliction is, there verily is salvation also, there verily is solace, there verily are great 

•irr 

achievements. For when the devil kicks, then is he, doubtless, hit. When he binds God’s 
servants, then most of all does the word gain ground. And mark how this is every where the 
case. Paul was imprisoned; and in the prison he did these things, yea, saith he, by my very 
bonds themselves. He was imprisoned at Rome, and brought the more converts to the faith; 
for not only was he himself emboldened, but many others also because of him. He was im- 
prisoned at Jerusalem, and preaching in his bonds he struck the king with amazement, (Acts 


265 [This reminds one of the saying of an eccentric evangelist in America who refering to those that abused 
and persecuted him for the severity of his preaching said, “It’s always the hit dog that yelps.” — G.A.] 


173 


Ephesians 4:1,2 


xxvi. 28.) and made the governor tremble. (Acts xxiv. 25.) For being afraid, it is related, he 
let him go, and he that had bound him was not ashamed to receive instruction concerning 
the things to come at the hands of him whom he had bound. In bonds he sailed, and retrieved 
the wreck, and bound fast the tempest. It was when he was in bonds that the monster fastened 
on him, and fell off from his hand, having done him no hurt. He was bound at Rome, and 
preaching in bonds drew thousands to his cause, holding forward, in the place of every 
other, this very argument, I mean his chain. 

It is not however our lot to be bound now-a-days. And yet there is another chain if we 
have a mind to wear it. And what is it? It is to restrain our hand, to be not so forward to 
covetousness. With this chain let us bind ourselves. Let the fear of God be unto us instead 
of a bond of iron. Let us loose them that are bound by poverty, by affliction. There is no 
comparison between opening the doors of a prison, and releasing an enthralled soul. There 
is no comparison between loosing the bonds of prisoners and “setting at liberty them that 
are bruised;” (Luke iv. 18.) this last is far greater than the other; for the other there is no re- 
ward in store, for this last there are ten thousand rewards. 

Paul’s chain has proved a long one, and has detained us a length of time. Yea, long indeed 
it is, and more beautiful than any cord of gold. A chain this, which draws them that are 
bound by it, as it were by a kind of invisible machinery, to Heaven, and, like a golden cord 
let down, draws them up to the Heaven of heavens. And the wonderful thing is this, that, 
bound, as it is, below, it draws its captives upwards: and indeed this is not the nature of the 
things themselves. But where God orders and disposes, look not for the nature of things, 
nor for natural sentence, but for things above nature and natural sequence. 

Let us learn not to sink under affliction, nor to repine; for look at this blessed saint. He 
had been scourged, and sorely scourged, for it is said, “When they had laid many stripes 
upon them.” He had been bound too, and that again sorely, for the jailor cast him into the 
inner ward, and with extraordinary security. And though he was in so many perils, at mid- 
night, when even the most wakeful are asleep with sleep, another and a stronger bond upon 
them, they chanted and sang praise unto the Lord. What can be more adamantine than 
these souls? They bethought them how that the holy Children sang even in fire and furnace. 
(Dan. iii. 1-30.) Perhaps they thus reasoned with themselves, “we have as yet suffered 
nothing like that.” 

But our discourse has done well, in that it has thus brought us out again to other bonds, 
and into another prison. What am I to do? I would fain be silent, but am not able. I have 
discovered another prison, far more wonderful and more astonishing than the former. But, 
come now, rouse yourselves, as though I were just commencing my discourse, and attend 


266 [This passage reminds one of the famous golden chain of Homer, OEipfiv xpt>o£Lt]v, (Iliad viii. 19-27) to 

which several allegorical meanings have been given. — G.A.] 


174 


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to me with your minds fresh. I would fain break off the discourse, but it will not suffer me; 
for just as a man in the midst of drinking cannot bear to break off his draught, whatever 
any one may promise him; so I too, now I have laid hold of this glorious cup of the prison 
of them that were bound for Christ’s sake, I cannot leave off, I cannot hold my peace. For 
if Paul in the prison, and in the night, kept not silence, no, nor under the scourge; shall I, 

')fZ r 7 

who am sitting" here by daylight, and speaking so much at my ease, shall I hold my peace, 
when men in bonds, and under the scourge, and at midnight could not endure to do so? 
The holy Children were not silent, no, not in the furnace and in the fire, and are not we 
ashamed to hold our peace? Let us look then at this prison also. Here too, they were bound, 
but at once and from the very outset it was evident that they were not about to be burned, 
but only to enter as into a prison. For why do ye bind men who are about to be committed 
to the flames? They were bound, as Paul was, hand and foot. They were bound with as great 
violence as he was. For the jailor thrust him into the inner prison; and the king commanded 
the furnace to be intensely heated. And now let us see the issue. When Paul and Silas sang, 
the prison was shaken, and the doors were opened. When the three Children sang, the bonds 
both of their feet and hands were loosed. The prison was opened, and the doors of the furnace 
were opened: for a dewy breeze whistled through it. 

But many thoughts crowd around me. I know not which to utter first, and which second. 
Wherefore, let no one, I entreat, require order of me, for the subjects are closely allied. 

They who were bound together with Paul and Silas were loosed, and yet nevertheless 
they slept. In the case of the three Children, instead of that, something else took place. The 
men who had cast them in, were themselves burned to death. And then, as I was fain to tell 
you, the king beheld them loose, and fell down before them: he heard them singing their 
song of praise, and beheld four walking, and he called them. As Paul, though able to do so, 
came not forth, until he who had cast him in, called him, and brought him forth: so neither 
did the three Children come forth, until he who had cast them in commanded them to come 
forth. What lesson are we taught from this? Not to be over hasty in courting persecution, 
nor when in tribulation to be over eager for deliverance, and on the other hand when they 
release us not to continue in it. Further, the jailor, inasmuch as he was able to enter in where 
the saints were, fell down at their feet. The king came but to the door and fell down. He 
dared not approach into the prison which he had prepared for them in the fire. And now 
mark their words. The one cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts xvi. 30.) The 
other, though not indeed with so great humility, yet uttered a voice no less sweet, “Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.” 


267 [The ancient custom was the reverse of ours, for the preacher commonly delivered his sermon sitting, 
and the people heard it standing. — Bingham Antiquities Bk. xiv. Ch. iv. Sec. 24. — G.A.] 


175 


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(Dan. iii. 26.) Mighty dignity! “Ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come 
hither.” How are they to come forth, O king? Thou didst cast them into the fire bound; they 
have continued this long time in the fire. Why, had they been made of adamant, had they 
been blocks of metal, in singing that entire hymn, must they not have perished? On this 
account then they were saved, because they sang praises to God. The fire reverenced their 
readiness to suffer and afterwards it reverenced that wonderful song, and their hymns of 
praise. By what title dost thou call them? I said before, “Ye servants of the most high God.” 
Yes, to the servants of God, all things are possible; for if some, who are the servants of men, 
have, nevertheless, power, and authority, and the disposal of their concerns, much more 
have the servants of God. He called them by the name most delightful to them, he knew 
that by this means he flattered them most: for indeed, if it was in order to continue servants 
of God, that they entered into the fire, there could be no sound more delightful to them 
than this. Had he called them kings, had he called them lords of the world, yet would he not 
so truly have rejoiced them as when he said, “Ye servants of the most high God.” And why 
marvel at this? when, in writing to the mighty city, to her who was mistress of the world, 
and prided herself upon her high dignities, Paul set down as equivalent in dignity, nay, as 
far greater, yea incomparably greater than consulship, or kingly name, or than the empire 
of the world, this title, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” (Rom. i. 1.) “Ye servants of the 

most high God.” “Yes,” he would say, “if they show so great zeal as to be bond-servants, 
doubtless this is the title by which we shall conciliate them.” 

Again, observe also the piety of the Children: they showed no indignation, no anger, 
no gain-saying, but they came forth. Had they regarded it as an act of vengeance that they 
had been thrown into the furnace, they would have been grieved against the man who had 
cast them in; as it is, there is nothing of the kind; but, as though they were going forth from 
Heaven itself, so went they forth. And what the Prophet says of the Sun, that “He is as a 
bridegroom coming forth out of his chamber,” (Ps. xix. 5.) one would not go amiss in saying 
also of them. But though he goes forth thus, yet came they forth there more gloriously than 
he, for he indeed comes forth to enlighten the world with natural light, they to enlighten 
the world in a different way, I mean, spiritually. For because of them the king straightway 
issued a decree, containing these words, “It hath seemed good unto me to show the signs 
and wonders that the Most High God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs! 
And how mighty are His wonders!” (Dan. iv. 2, 3.) So that they went forth, shedding a yet 
more glorious radiance, beaming indeed in that region itself, but, what is more than all, 
capable, by means of the king’s writings, of being diffused over the world and thus of dis- 
pelling the darkness which every where prevails. “Come forth,” said he, “and come hither.” 


268 [The word in the Greek SovXoc, which means a bond-slave, though softened in the Auth. Ver. to “servant” 
and in the Rev. Ver. to “bond-servant.” — G.A.] 


176 


Ephesians 4:1,2 


o/rg 

He gave no commandment to extinguish the flame, but hereby most especially honored 
them, by believing that they were able not only to walk within it, but even to come out of it 
while it was still burning. 

But let us look again, if it seem good to you, at the words of the jailor, “Sirs, what must 
I do to be saved?” What language sweeter than this? This makes the very Angels leap for 
joy. To hear this language, even the Only-begotten Son of God Himself became a servant. 
This language they who believed at the beginning addressed to Peter. (Acts ii. 37.) “What 
shall we do?” And what said he in answer? “Repent and be baptized.” To have heard this 
language from the Jews, gladly would Paul have been cast even in to hell, in his eagerness 
for their salvation and obedience. But observe, he commits the whole matter to them, he 
wastes no unnecessary pains. Let us however look at the next point. The king here does not 
say, What must I do to be saved? but the teaching is plainer in his case than any language 
whatever; for he straightway becomes a preacher, he needs not to be instructed like the 
jailor. He proclaims God, and makes confession of His power. “Of a truth your God is the 
God of Gods and the Lord of Kings, because He hath sent His Angel, and hath delivered 
you.” (Dan. ii. 47; iii. 28.) And what was the sequel? Not one single jailor, but numbers are 
instructed by the king’s writings, by the sight of the facts. For that the king would not have 
told a falsehood is evident enough to every one, because he never would have chosen to bear 
such testimony to captives, nor to overthrow his own acts; he never would have chosen to 
incur the imputation of such utter madness: so that had not the truth been abundantly 
manifest, he would not have written in such terms, and with so many persons present. 

Perceive ye how great is the power of bonds? How great the force of those praises that 
are sung in tribulation? Their heart failed not, they were not cast down, but were then yet 
more vigorous, and their courage then yet greater and justly so. 

While we are considering these things one question yet remains for us: Why was it that 
in the prison on the one hand, the prisoners were loosed, whilst in the furnace the execution- 
ers were burnt to death: for that indeed should have been the king’s fate, because neither 
were they who bound them, nor they who cast them into the furnace, guilty of so great sin 
as the man who commanded this should be done. Why then did they perish? On this point 
there is not any very great need of minute examination; for they were wicked men. And 
therefore this was providentially ordered, that the power of the fire might be shown, and 
the miracle might be made more signal; for if it thus devoured them that were without, how 
did it show them unscathed that were within it? it was that the power of God might be made 
manifest. And let no one wonder that I have put the king on a level with the jailor, for he 


269 [Field’s text has here £ToX|ir|a£, ‘he did not venture;’ but that gives a sense less satisfactory than the text 
of Savile and the Oxford translator, EKEXeuoe, which is well attested. — G.A.] 


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did the same thing; the one was in no wise more noble than the other, and they both had 
their reward. 

But, as I said, the righteous, when they are in tribulations, are then especially more en- 
ergetic, and when they are in bonds: for to suffer any thing for Christ’s sake is the sweetest 
of all consolation. 

Will ye that I remind you of yet another prison? It seems necessary to go on from this 
chain to another prison still. And which will ye? Shall it be that of Jeremiah, or of Joseph, 
or of John? Thanks to Paul’s chain; how many prisons has it opened to our discourse? Will 
ye have that of John? He also was once bound for Christ’s sake, and for the law of God. 
What then? Was he idle when he was in prison? Was it not from thence he sent, by his dis- 
ciples, and said, “Art Thou He that cometh, or look we for another?” (Matt. xi. 2, 3.) Even 
when there, then, it seems he taught, for surely he did not disregard his duty. But again, did 
not Jeremiah prophesy concerning the king of Babylon, and fulfil his work even there in 
prison? And what of Joseph? Was he not in prison thirteen years? What then? Not even 
there did he forget his virtue. I have yet to mention the bonds of one and therewith will 
close my discourse. Our Master Himself was bound, He who loosed the world from sins. 
Those hands were bound, those hands that wrought ten thousand good deeds. For, “they 
bound Him,” it saith, “and led Him away to Caiaphas;” (Matt, xxvii. 2; John xviii. 24.) yes, 
He was bound who had wrought so many marvellous works. 

Reflecting on these things, let us never repine; but whether we be in bonds, let us rejoice; 
or whether we be not in bonds, let us be as though we were bound together with Him. See 
how great a blessing are bonds! Knowing all these things, let us send up our thanksgiving 
for all things to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord with whom to the Father, together with 
the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, and honor, now and forever and ever. Amen. 


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Homily IX. 

Chapter IV. Verses 1-3 

“I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you, to walk worthily of the calling wherewith 
ye were called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another 
in love; giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ” 

Great has the power of Paul’s chain been shown to be, and more glorious than miracles. 
It is not in vain then, as it should seem, nor without an object, that he here holds it forward, 
but as the means of all others most likely to touch them. And what saith he? “I therefore, 
the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you, to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were 
called.” And how is that? “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing 
one another in love.” 

It is not the being merely a prisoner that is honorable, but the being so for Christ’s sake. 
Hence he saith, “in the Lord,” i.e., the prisoner for Christ’s sake. Nothing is equal to this. 
But now the chain is dragging me away still more from my subject, and pulling me back 
again, and I cannot bear to resist it, but am drawn along willingly, — yea, rather, with all my 
heart; and would that it were always my lot to be descanting on Paul’s chain. 

But now do not become drowsy: for I am yet desirous to solve that other question, which 
many raise, when they say, Why, if tribulation be a glory, how came Paul himself to say in 
his defence to Agrippa, “I would to God that whether with little or with much not thou 
only, but also all that hear me this day, might become such as I am, except these bonds?” 
(Acts xxvi. 29.) He said not this, God forbid! as deeming the thing a matter to be deprecated; 
no; for had it been such, he would not have gloried in bonds, in imprisonments, in those 
other tribulations; and when writing elsewhere he saith, “Most gladly will I rather glory in 
my weaknesses.” (2 Cor. xii. 9.) But what is the case? This was itself a proof how great a 
thing he considered those bonds; for as in writing to the Corinthians he said, “I fed you with 
milk, not with meat, for ye were not yet able to bear it;” (1 Cor. iii. 2.) so also here. They 
before whom he spoke were not able to hear of the beauty, nor the comeliness, nor the 
blessing of those bonds. Hence it was he added, “except these bonds.” To the Hebrews 
however he spoke not thus, but exhorted them to “be bound with” (Heb. xiii. 3.) them that 


270 [Field’s text has here a much shorter reading as follows: For a question now suggests itself to me; for since 
Paul in his defence, etc. This reading leaves the sense incomplete. The reading of the Oxford translator, as given 
above, is internally more satisfactory and is attested by several excellent authorities. — G.A.] 

271 [It is very doubtful that this was Paul’s design in saying “except these bonds.” It is more probable he 
wished that others might enjoy the blessings of Christianity without sharing in those sufferings which he himself 
was glad to endure. — G.A.] 


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were in bonds. And hence too did he himself rejoice in his bonds, and was bound, and was 
led with the prisoners into the inner prison. Mighty is the power of Paul’s chain! A spectacle 
this, which may suffice for every other, to behold Paul bound, and led forth from his prison; 
to behold him bound, and sitting within it, what pleasure can come up to this? What would 
I not give for such a sight? Do ye see the emperors, the consuls, borne along in their chariots 
and arrayed in gold, and their body-guard with every thing about them of gold? Their hal- 
berds of gold, their shields of gold, their raiment of gold, their horses with trappings of gold? 
How much more delightful than such a spectacle is his! I would rather see Paul once, going 
forth with the prisoners from his prison, than behold these ten thousand times over, 
parading along with all that retinue. When he was thus led forth, how many Angels, suppose 
ye, led the way before him? And to show that I speak no fiction, I will make the fact manifest 
to you from a certain ancient narrative. 

Elisha the prophet, (perhaps ye know the man,) at the time (2 Kings vi. 8-12.) when the 
king of Syria was at war with the king of Israel, sitting at his own home, brought to light all 
the counsels which the king of Syria was taking in his chamber with them that were privy 
to his designs, and rendered the king’s counsels of none effect, by telling beforehand his 
secrets, and not suffering the king of Israel to fall into the snares which he was laying. This 
sorely troubled the king; he was disheartened, and was reduced to greater perplexity, not 
knowing how to discover him who was disclosing all that passed, and plotting against him, 
and disappointing his schemes. Whilst therefore he was in this perplexity, and enquiring 
into the cause, one of his armor-bearers told him, that there was a certain prophet, one 
Elisha, dwelling in Samaria, who suffered not the king’s designs to stand, but disclosed all 
that passed. The king imagined that he had discovered the whole matter. Sure, never was 
any one more miserably misled than he. When he ought to have honored the man, to have 
reverenced him, to have been awed that he really possessed so great power, as that, seated, 
as he was, so many furlongs off, he should know all that passed in the king’s chamber, 
without any one at all to tell him; this indeed he did not, but being exasperated, and wholly 
carried away by his passion, he equips horsemen, and soldiers, and dispatches them to bring 
the prophet before him. 

Now Elisha had a disciple as yet only on the threshold of prophecy, (2 Kings vi. 13ff.) 
as yet far from being judged worthy of revelations of this kind. The king’s soldiers arrived 
at the spot, as intending to bind the man, or rather the prophet. — Again I am falling upon 
bonds, so entirely is this discourse interwoven with them. — And when the disciple saw the 
host of soldiers, he was affrighted, and ran full of trembling to his master, and told him the 
calamity, as he thought, and informed him of the inevitable peril. The prophet smiled at 
him for fearing things not worthy to be feared, and bade him be of good cheer. The disciple, 
however, being as yet imperfect, did not listen to him, but being still amazed at the sight, 
remained in fear. Upon this, what did the prophet do? “Lord,” said he, “open the eyes of 


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this young man, and let him see that they which are with us, are more than they which are 
with them;” (2 Kings vi. 16, 17.) and immediately he beheld the whole mountain, where the 
prophet then dwelt, filled with so great a multitude of horses and chariots of fire. Now these 
were nothing else than ranks of Angels. But if only for an occasion like this so great a band 
of Angels attended Elisha what must Paul have had? This is what the prophet David tells 
us. “The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him.” (Ps. xxxiv. 7.) And 
again; “They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Ps. 
xci. 2.) And why do I speak of Angels? The Lord Himself was with him then as he went 
forth; for surely it cannot be that He was seen by Abraham, and yet was not with Paul. No, 
it was His own promise, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt, xxviii. 
20.) And again, when He appeared to him, He said, “Be not afraid, but speak, for I am with 

thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee.” (Acts xviii. 9, 10.) Again, He stood by him 
in a dream, and said, “Be of good cheer, for as thou hast testified concerning me at Jerusalem, 
so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts xxiii. 11.) 

The saints, though they are at all times a glorious sight, and are full of abundant grace, 
yet are so, most of all, when they are in perils for Christ’s sake, when they are prisoners; for 
as a brave soldier is at all times and of himself a pleasing spectacle to them that behold him, 
but most of all when he is standing, and in ranks at the king’s side; thus also imagine to 
yourselves Paul, how great a thing it was to see him teaching in his bonds. 

Shall I mention, in passing, a thought, which just at this moment occurs to me? The 
blessed martyr Babylas was bound, and he too for the very same cause as John also was, 
because he reproved a king in his transgression. This man when he was dying gave charge 
that his bonds should be laid with his body, and that the body should be buried bound; and 
to this day the fetters lie mingled with his ashes, so devoted was his affection for the bonds 
he had worn for Christ’s sake. “He was laid in chains of iron” as the Prophet saith of Joseph. 
(Ps. cv. 18.) And even women have before now had trial of these bonds. 

We however are not in bonds, nor am I recommending this, since now is not the time 
for them. But thou, bind not thine hands, but bind thy heart and mind. There are yet other 
bonds, and they that wear not the one, shall have to wear the other. Hear what Christ saith, 
“Bind him hand and foot.” (Matt. xxii. 13.) But God forbid we should have trial of those 
bonds! but of these may He grant us even to take our fill! 


272 S. Babylas, whom Chrysostom has commemorated in a Homily on his feast day and elsewhere, (Horn, de 
Bab. t. 2. p. 531. Ed. Ben. Horn, in Jul. et Gent. t. 2. p. 536.) was Bishop of Antioch about 237-250, when he was 
martyred in the Decian persecution, being put into prison, and dying there. The circumstance mentioned in 
the text is also to be found in Gent. p. 554. — [See Homily on Babylas, Vol. ix. p. 141, of this Series. — G.A.] 


181 


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On these accounts he saith, “I, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily 
of the calling wherewith ye were called.” But what is this calling? Ye were called as His body, 
it is said. Ye have Christ as your head; and though you were “enemies,” and had committed 
misdeeds out of number, yet “hath He raised you up with Him and made you to sit with 
Him.” (Eph. ii. 6.) A high calling this, and to high privileges, not only in that we have been 
called from that former state, but in that we are called both to such privileges, and by such 
a method. 

But how is it possible to “walk worthily” of it? “With all lowliness.” Such an one walks 
worthily. This is the basis of all virtue. If thou be lowly, and bethink thee what thou art, and 
how thou wast saved, thou wilt take this recollection as a motive to all virtue. Thou wilt 
neither be elated with bonds, nor with those very privileges which I mentioned, but as 
knowing that all is of grace, thou wilt humble thyself. The lowly-minded man is able to be 
at once a generous and a grateful servant. “For what hast thou,” saith he, “that thou didst 
not receive?” (1 Cor. iv. 7.) And again, hear his words, “I labored more abundantly than 
they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” (1 Cor. xv. 10.) 

“With all lowliness,” saith he; not that which is in words, nor that which is in actions 
only, but even in one’s very bearing and tone of voice: not lowly towards one, and rude to- 
wards another; be lowly towards all men, be he friend or foe, be he great or small. This is 
lowliness. Even in thy good deeds be lowly; for hear what Christ saith, “Blessed are the poor 
in spirit;” (Matt. v. 3.) and He places this first in order. Wherefore also the Apostle himself 
saith, “With all lowliness, and meekness, and long-suffering.” For it is possible for a man to 
be lowly, and yet quick and irritable, and thus all is to no purpose; for oftentimes he will be 
possessed by his anger, and ruin all. 

‘Forbearing,” he proceeds, one another in love.” 

How is it possible to forbear, if a man be passionate or censorious? He hath told us 
therefore the manner: “in love,” saith he. If thou, he would say, art not forbearing to thy 
neighbor, how shall God be forbearing to thee? If thou bearest not with thy fellow-servant, 
how shall the Master bear with thee? Wherever there is love, all things are to be borne. 

“Giving diligence ,” saith he, “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 
Bind therefore thy hands with moderation. Again that goodly name of “bond.” We had 
dismissed it, and it has of itself come back on us again. A goodly bond was that, and goodly 
is this one also, and that other is the fruit of this. Bind thyself to thy brother. They bear all 
things lightly who are bound together in love. Bind thyself to him and him to thee; thou art 


273 [“The reciprocal forbearance in love (ethical habit) (Rom. xv. 1; Gal. vi. 2.) is the practical expression of 
the ‘longsuffering.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

274 [“Giving diligence,” participial clause parallel to “forbearing one another” which is characterized by the 
effort by which it must be upheld.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


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lord of both, for whomsoever I may be desirous to make my friend, I can by means of 
kindliness accomplish it. 

“Giving diligence,” he says; a thing not to be done easily, and not in every one’s power. 

“Giving diligence,” he proceeds, “to keep the unity of the Spirit.” What is this “unity of 
Spirit?” In the human body there is a spirit which holds all together, though in different 
members. So is it also here; for to this end was the Spirit given, that He might unite those 
who are separated by race and by different manners; for old and young, rich and poor, child 
and youth, woman and man, and every soul become in a manner one, and more entirely so 
than if there were one body. For this spiritual relation is far higher than the other natural 
one, and the perfectness of the union more entire; because the conjunction of the soul is 
more perfect, inasmuch as it is both simple and uniform. And how then is this unity pre- 
served? “In the bond of peace .” It is not possible for this to exist in enmity and discord. 
“For whereas there is,” saith he, “among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, and walk 
after the manner of men?” (1 Cor. iii. 3.) For as fire when it finds dry pieces of wood works 
up all together into one blazing pile, but when wet does not act at all nor unite them; so also 
it is here. Nothing that is of a cold nature can bring about this union, whereas any warm 
one for the most part can. Hence at least it is that the glow of charity is produced; by the 
“bond of peace,” he is desirous to bind us all together. For just in the same way, he would 
say, as if thou wouldest attach thyself to another, thou canst do it in no other way except by 
attaching him to thyself; and if thou shouldest wish to make the tie double, he must needs 
in turn attach himself to thee; so also here he would have us tied one to another; not simply 
that we be at peace, not simply that we love one another, but that all should be only even 
one soul. A glorious bond is this; with this bond let us bind ourselves together with one 
another and unto God. This is a bond that bruises not, nor cramps the hands it binds, but 
it leaves them free, and gives them ample play, and greater courage than those which are at 
liberty. The strong if he be bound to the weak, will support him, and not suffer him to perish: 
and if again he be tied to the indolent, him he will rather rouse and animate. “Brother helped 
by brother,” it is said, “is as a strong city 276 .” This chain no distance of place can interrupt, 
neither heaven, nor earth, nor death, nor any thing else, but it is more powerful and strong 
than all things. This, though it issue from but one soul, is able to embrace numbers at once; 
for hear what Paul saith, “Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own af- 
fections; be ye also enlarged.” (2 Cor. vi. 12.) 


275 [“While peace one towards another must be the bond which is to envelope them.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

276 [This is the rendering of the Septuagint in Prov. xviii. 19, which Chrysostom follows exactly: ddeXcpoc; 
tmo ddeXcpou (3or|0oup£vo(; wc, ttoXlc; dyupd. The Rev. Ver. following the Hebrew, has “A brother offended is 
harder to be won than a strong city.” — G.A.] 


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Now then, what impairs this bond? Love of money, passion for power, for glory, and 
the like, loosens them, and severs them asunder. How then are we to see that they be not 
cut asunder? If these tempers be got rid of, and none of those things which destroy charity 
come in by the way to trouble us. For hear what Christ saith, (Matt. xxiv. 12.) “Because 
iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold.” Nothing is so opposed to 
love as sin, and I mean not love towards God, but that towards our neighbor also. But how 
then, it may be said, are even robbers at peace? When are they, tell me? Not when they are 
acting in a spirit which is that of robbers; for if they fail to observe the rules of justice amongst 
those with whom they divide the spoil, and to render to every one his right, you will find 
them too in wars and broils. So that neither amongst the wicked is it possible to find peace: 
but where men are living in righteousness and virtue, you may find it every where. But again, 
are rivals ever at peace? Never. And whom then would ye have me mention? The covetous 
man can never possibly be at peace with the covetous. So that were there not just and good 
persons, even though wronged by them, to stand between them, the whole race of them 
would be torn to pieces. When two wild beasts are famished, if there be not something put 
between them to consume, they will devour one another. The same would be the case with 
the covetous and the vicious. So that it is not possible there should be peace where virtue is 
not already put in practice beforehand. Let us form, if you please, a city entirely of covetous 
men, give them equal privileges, and let no one bear to be wronged, but let all wrong one 
another. Can that city possibly hold together? It is impossible. Again, is there peace amongst 
adulterers? No, not any two will you find of the same mind. 

So then, to return, there is no other reason for this, than that “love hath waxed cold;” 
and the cause again why love hath waxed cold, is that “iniquity abounds.” For this leads to 
selfishness, and divides and severs the body, and relaxes it and rends it to pieces. But where 
virtue is, it does the reverse. Because the man that is virtuous is also above money; so that 
were there ten thousand such in poverty they would still be peaceable; whilst the covetous, 
where there are but two, can never be at peace. Thus then if we are virtuous, love will not 
perish, for virtue springs from love, and love from virtue. And how this is, I will tell you. 
The virtuous man does not value money above friendship, nor does he remember injuries, 
nor does wrong to his neighbor; he is not insolent, he endures all things nobly. Of these 
things love consists. Again, he who loves submits to all these things, and thus do they recip- 
rocally produce one another. And this indeed, that love springs from virtue, appears from 
hence, because our Lord when He saith, “because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of 
the many shall wax cold,” plainly tells us this. And that virtue springs from love, Paul tells 
us, saying, “He that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law.” (Rom. xiii. 10.) So then a 
man must be one of the two, either very affectionate and much beloved, or else very virtuous; 
for he who has the one, of necessity possesses the other; and, on the contrary, he who knows 


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not how to love, will therefore commit many evil actions; and he who commits evil actions, 
knows not what it is to love. 

Moral. Let us therefore follow after charity; it is a safeguard which will not allow us to 
suffer any evil. Let us bind ourselves together. Let there be no deceit amongst us, no hollow- 
ness. For where friendship is, there nothing of the sort is found. This too another certain 
wise man tells us. “Though thou drewest a sword at thy friend, yet despair not: for there 
may be a returning again to favor. If thou hast opened thy mouth against thy friend, fear 
not; for there may be a reconciliation: except for upbraiding, or disclosing of secrets, or a 
treacherous wound: for for these things a friend will depart.” (Ecclus. xxii. 21, 22.) For 
“disclosing,” saith he, “of secrets.” Now if we be all friends, there is no need of secrets; for 
as no man has any secret with himself and cannot conceal anything from himself, so neither 
will he from his friends. Where then no secrets exist, separation arising from this is im- 
possible. For no other reason have we secrets, than because we have not confidence in all 
men. So then it is the waxing cold of love, which has produced secrets. For what secret hast 
thou? Dost thou desire to wrong thy neighbor? Or, art thou hindering him from sharing 
some benefit, and on this account concealest it? But, no, perhaps it is none of these things. 
What then, is it that thou art ashamed? If so, then this is a token of want of confidence. Now 
then if there be love, there will be no “revealing of secrets,” neither any “upbraiding.” For 
who, tell me, would ever upbraid his own soul? And suppose even such a thing were done, 
it would be for some good; for we upbraid children, we know, when we desire to make them 
feel. And so Christ too on that occasion began to upbraid the cities, saying, “Woe unto thee, 
Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida!” (Luke x. 13.) in order that He might deliver them 
from upbraidings. For nothing has such power to lay hold of the mind, or can more strongly 
arouse it, or brace it up when relaxed. Let us then never use upbraiding to one another 
merely for the sake of upbraiding. For what? Wilt thou upbraid thy friend on the score of 
money? Surely not, if at least thou possessest what thou hast in common. Wilt thou then 
for his faults? No nor this, but thou wilt rather in that case correct him. Or, as it goes on, 
“for a treacherous wound;” who in the world will kill himself, or who wound himself? No 
one. 

Let us then “follow after love;” he saith not simply let us love; but let us “follow after 
love.” (1 Cor. xiv. 1.) There is need of much eagerness: she is soon out of sight, she is most 
rapid in her flight; so many things are there in life which injure her. If we follow her, she 
will not outstrip us and get away, but we shall speedily recover her. The love of God is that 
which united earth to Heaven. It was the love of God that seated man upon the kingly throne. 
It was the love of God that manifested God upon earth. It was the love of God that made 
the Lord a servant. It was the love of God that caused the Beloved to be delivered up for His 
enemies, the Son for them that hated Him, the Lord for His servants, God for men, the free 
for slaves. Nor did it stop here, but called us to yet greater things. Yes, not only did it release 


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us from our former evils, but promised, moreover, to bestow upon us other much greater 
blessings. For these things then let us give thanks to God, and follow after every virtue; and 
before all things, let us with all strictness practice love, that we may be counted worthy to 
attain the promised blessings; through the grace and loving-kindness of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, with whom, to the Father together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, and honor, 
now and for ever and ever. Amen. 


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Homily X. 

Ephesians iv. 4 

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” 

When the blessed Paul exhorts us to anything of special importance, so truly wise and 
spiritual as he is, he grounds his exhortation upon things in Heaven: this itself being a lesson 
he had learned from the Lord. Thus he saith also elsewhere, “Walk in love, even as Christ 
also hath loved us.” (ch. v. 2.) And again, “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ 
Jesus, who being in the form of God, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God.” 
(Philip, ii. 5, 6.) This is what he is doing here also, for whenever the examples he is setting 
before us are great, he is intense in his zeal and feeling. What then does he say, now he is 
inciting us to unity? “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of 
your calling:” 

Ver. 5. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” 

Now what is this one body? The faithful throughout the whole world, both which are, 
and which have been, and which shall be. And again, they that before Christ’s coming pleased 
God, are “one body.” How so? Because they also knew Christ. Whence does this appear? 
“Your father Abraham,” saith He, “rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.” 
(John viii. 56.) And again, “If ye had believed Moses,” He saith, “ye would have believed 
Me, for he wrote of Me.” (John v. 46.) And the prophets too would not have written of One, 
of whom they knew not what they said; whereas they both knew Him, and worshiped Him. 
Thus then were they also “one body.” 

The body is not disjoined from the spirit, for then would it not be a body. Thus it is 
customary also with us, touching things which are united, and which have any great consist- 
ency or coherence, to say, they are one body. And thus again, touching union, we take that 
to be a body which is under one head. If there be one head, then is there one body. The body 
is composed of members both honorable and dishonorable. Only the greater is not to rise 
up even against the meanest, nor this latter to envy the other. They do not all indeed con- 
tribute the same share, but severally according to the proportion of need. And forasmuch 
as all are formed for necessary and for different purposes, all are of equal honor. Some indeed 
there are, which are more especially principal members, others less so: for example, the head 
is more a principal member than all the rest of the body, as containing within itself all the 
senses, and the governing principle of the soul. And to live without the head is impossible; 
whereas many persons have lived for a long time with their feet cut off. So that it is better 
than they, not only by its position, but also by its very vital energy and its function. 

Now why am I saying this? There are great numbers in the Church; there are those who, 
like the head, are raised up to a height; who, like the eyes that are in the head, survey heavenly 


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things, who stand far aloof from the earth, and have nothing in common with it, whilst 
others occupy the rank of feet, and tread upon the earth; of healthy feet indeed, for to tread 
upon the earth is no crime in feet, but to run to evil. “Their feet,” saith the Prophet, “run to 
evil.” (Isa. lix. 7.) Neither then let these, the head, saith he, be high-minded against the feet, 
nor the feet look with evil eye at them. For thus the peculiar beauty of each is destroyed, 
and the perfectness of its function impeded. And naturally enough; inasmuch as he who 
lays snares for his neighbor will be laying snares first of all for himself. And should the feet 
therefore not choose to convey the head anywhere upon its necessary journey, they will at 
the same time be injuring themselves by their inactivity and sloth. Or again, should the head 
not choose to take any care of the feet, itself will be the first to sustain the damage. However, 
those members do not rise up one against the other; it is not likely, for it has been so ordered 
by nature that they should not. But with man, how is it possible for him not to rise up against 
man? No one, we know, ever rises up against Angels; since neither do they rise against the 
Archangels. Nor, on the other hand, can the irrational creatures proudly exalt themselves 
over us; but where the nature is equal in dignity, and the gift one, and where one has no 
more than another, how shall this be prevented? 

And yet surely these are the very reasons why thou oughtest not to rise up against thy 
neighbors. For if all things are common, and one has nothing more than another, whence 
this mad folly? We partake of the same nature, partake alike of soul and body, we breathe 
the same air, we use the same food. Whence this rebellious rising of one against another? 
And yet truly the being able by one’s virtue to overcome the incorporeal powers, that were 
enough to lead to arrogance; or rather arrogance it would not be, for with good reason am 
I high-minded, and exceedingly high-minded against the evil spirit. And behold even Paul, 
how high-minded he was against that evil spirit. For when the evil spirit was speaking great 
and marvelous things concerning him, he made him hold his peace, and endured him not 
even in his flattery. For when that damsel, “who had the spirit of divination,” cried, saying, 
“These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation” 
(Acts xvi. 16, 17.), he rebuked him severely, and silenced his forward tongue. And again he 
elsewhere writes, and says, “God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. xvi. 20.) 
Will the difference of nature have any effect? Perceivest thou not that the difference between 
natures has no effect whatever, but only the difference of purpose? Because of their principle 
therefore they are far worse than all. Well, a man may say, but I am not rising up against an 
Angel, because there is so vast a distance between my nature and his. And yet surely thou 
oughtest no more to rise up against a man than against an Angel, for the Angel indeed differs 
from thee in nature, a matter which can be neither an honor to him, nor a disgrace to thee: 
whereas man differs from man not at all in nature, but in principle; and there is such a thing 
as an Angel too even amongst men. So that if thou rise not up against Angels, much more 
shouldest thou not against men, against those who have become angels in this our nature; 


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for should any one among men become as virtuous as an Angel, that man is in a far higher 
degree superior to thee, than an Angel is. And why so? Because what the one possesses by 
nature, the other has achieved of his own purpose. And again, because the Angel has his 
home far from thee in distance also, and dwelleth in Heaven; whereas this man is living with 
thee, and giving an impulse to thy emulation. And indeed he lives farther apart from thee 
than the Angel. For “our citizenship,” saith the Apostle, “is in Heaven.” (Philip, iii. 20.) And 
to show thee that this man hath his home still farther distant, hear where his Head is seated; 
upon the throne, saith he, the royal throne! And the farther distant that throne is from us, 
the farther is he also. 

Well, but I see him, thou wilt say, in the enjoyment of honor, and I am led to jealousy. 
Why, this is the very thing which has turned all things upside down, which has filled not 
the world only, but the Church also, with countless troubles. And just as fierce blasts setting 
in across a calm harbor, render it more dangerous than any rock, or than any strait whatever; 
so the lust of glory entering in, overturns and confounds everything. 

Ye have oftentimes been present at the burning of large houses. Ye have seen how the 
smoke keeps rising up to Heaven; and if no one comes near to put a stop to the mischief, 
but every one keeps looking to himself, the flame spreads freely on, and devours everything. 
And oftentimes the whole city will stand around; they will stand round indeed as spectators 
of the evil, not to aid nor assist. And there you may see them one and all standing round, 
and doing nothing but each individual stretching out his hand, and pointing out to some 
one who may be just come to the spot, either a flaming brand that moment flying through 
a window, or beams hurled down, or the whole circuit of the walls forced out, and tumbling 
violently to the ground. Many too there are of the more daring and venturesome, who will 
have the hardihood even to come close to the very buildings themselves whilst they are 
burning, not in order to stretch forth a hand towards them, and to put a stop to the mischief, 
but that they may the more fully enjoy the sight, being able from the nearer place to observe 
closely all that which often escapes those at a distance. Then if the house happen to be large 
and magnificent, it appears to them a pitiable spectacle, and deserving of many tears. And 
truly there is a pitiable spectacle for us to behold; capitals of columns crumbled to dust, and 
many columns themselves shattered to pieces, some consumed by the fire, others thrown 
down often by the very hands which erected them, that they may not add fuel to the flame. 
Statues again, which stood with so much gracefulness, with the ceiling resting on them, 
these you may see all exposed, with the roof torn off, and themselves standing hideously 
disfigured in the open air. And why should one go on to describe the wealth stored up 
within? the tissues of gold, and the vessels of silver? And where the lord of the house and 
his consort scarcely entered, where was the treasurehouse of tissues and perfumes, and the 
caskets of the costly jewels, — all has become one blazing fire, and within now, are bath-men 


189 


Ephesians 4:4 


and street- cleaners, and runaway slaves, and everybody; and everything within is one mass 
of fire and water, of mud, and dust, and half-burnt beams! 

Now why have I drawn out so full a picture as this? Not simply because I wish to repres- 
ent to you the conflagration of a house, (for what concern is that of mine?) but because I 
wish to set before your eyes, as vividly as I can, the calamities of the Church. For like a 
conflagration indeed, or like a thunderbolt hurled from on high, have they lighted upon the 
roof of the Church, and yet they rouse up no one; but whilst our Father’s house is burning, 
we are sleeping, as it were, a deep and stupid sleep. And yet who is there whom this fire does 
not touch? Which of the statues that stand in the Church? for the Church is nothing else 
than a house built of the souls of us men. Now this house is not of equal honor throughout, 
but of the stones which contribute to it, some are bright and shining, whilst others are 
smaller and more dull than they, and yet superior again to others. There we may see 
many who are in the place of gold also, the gold which adorns the ceiling. Others again we 
may see, who give the beauty and gracefulness produced by statues. Many 278 we may see, 
standing like pillars. For he is accustomed to call men also “pillars” (Gal. ii. 9.), not only on 
account of their strength but also on account of their beauty, adding as they do, much grace, 
and having their heads overlaid with gold. We may see a multitude, forming generally the 
wide middle space and the whole extent of the circumference; for the body at large occupies 
the place of those stones of which the outer walls are built. Or rather we must go on to a 
more splendid picture yet. This Church, of which I speak, is not built of these stones, such 
as we see around us, but of gold and silver, and of precious stones, and there is abundance 
of gold dispersed everywhere throughout it. But, oh the bitter tears this calls forth! For all 
these things hath the lawless rule of vainglory consumed; that all-devouring flame, which 
no one has yet got under. And we stand gazing in amazement at the flames, but no longer 
able to quench the evil: or if we do quench it for a short time, yet after two or three days as 
a spark blown up from a heap of ashes overturns all, and consumes no less than it did before, 
so it is here also: for this is just what is wont to happen in such a conflagration. And as to 
the cause, it has devoured the supports of the very pillars of the Church; those of us who 
supported the roof, and who formerly held the whole building together it has enveloped in 
the flame. Hence too was a ready communication to the rest of the outer walls: for so also 
in the case of buildings, when the fire lays hold of the timbers, it is better armed for its attack 
upon the stones; but when it has brought down the pillars and leveled them with the ground, 


277 [Field’s text has here 7ioXXu> Si ekelvcov PeXtlouc; instead of 7ioXXu> Se aXXcov PeXtlouc;, which is clearly 
better than Field’s, because it gives a better sense and is well attested. Indeed, Field, while giving ekelvcov in his 
text, says it is used “duriuspro Eixpcov,” and mentions Chrysostom’s negligent use of pronouns. — G.A.] 

278 [In Field’s text the word “many,” noXXouc;, is put in the preceding sentence; but it is better where it stands 
here, to complete the sentence and to make it correspond with the two preceding sentences. — G.A.] 


190 


Ephesians 4:4 


nothing more is wanted to consume all the rest in the flames. For when the props and sup- 
ports of the upper parts fall down, those parts also themselves will speedily enough follow 
them. Thus is it also at this moment with the Church: the fire has laid hold on every part. 
We seek the honors that come from man, we burn for glory, and we hearken not to Job 
when he saith, 

“If like Adam (or after the manner of men) I covered my transgressions 
By hiding mine iniquity in my bosom, 

97Q 

Because I feared the great multitude.” 

Behold ye a virtuous spirit? I was not ashamed, he saith, to own before the whole multi- 
tude my involuntary sins: And if he was not ashamed to confess, much more were it our 
duty to do so. For saith the prophet, “Set thou forth thy cause, that thou mayest be justified.” 
(Isa. xliii. 26.) Great is the violence of this evil, everything is overturned by it and annihilated. 
We have forsaken the Lord, and are become slaves of honor. We are no longer able to rebuke 
those who are under our rule, because we ourselves also are possessed with the same fever 
as they. We who are appointed by God to heal others, need the physician ourselves. What 
further hope of recovery is there left, when even the very physicians themselves need the 
healing hand of others? 

I have not said these things without an object, nor am I making lamentations to no 
purpose, but with the view that one and all, with our women and children, having sprinkled 
ourselves with ashes, and girded ourselves about with sackcloth, may keep a long fast, may 
beseech God Himself to stretch forth His hand to us, and to stay the peril. For need is there 
indeed of His hand, that mighty, that marvelous hand. Greater things are required of us 
than of the Ninevites. “Yet three days,” said the prophet, “and Nineveh shall be over- 
thrown.” (Jonah iii. 4.) A fearful message, and burdened with tremendous threat. And 
how should it be otherwise? to expect that within three days, the city should become their 
tomb, and that all should perish in one common judgment. For if, when it happens that two 
children die at the same time in one house, the hardship becomes intolerable, and if to Job 
this of all things seemed the most intolerable, that the roof fell in upon all his children, and 
they were thus killed; what must it be to behold not one house, nor two children, but a nation 
of a hundred and twenty thousand buried beneath the ruins! 


279 Job xxxi. 33, 34. The verses in the Sept, stand thus: Ei Se Kai dpapxtbv dKouaitoq £Kpu\|/a xqv dpapxiav 
pou. Ou yap SLExpdTtqv 7ioXuoxXlclv TtXf|0ou(;, xou pq E^ayopEuacu Evtomov auxtov [but Chrysostom quotes only 
these words: el kcll dpapxtov dKouaitoq SiExpaTtqv 7toXuoxXlclv. The Hebrew is quite different, as shown in ren- 
dering of Rev. Ver. (above). — G.A.] 

280 [The Septuagint has yet three days, &c., exl xpslq f|pepai k.t.X. So Chrysostom quotes it. The Hebrew text 
and the Rev. Ver., following it, have forty days. — G.A.] 


191 


Ephesians 4:4 


Ye know how terrible a disaster is this, for lately has this very warning happened to us, 
not that any prophet uttered a voice, for we are not worthy to hear such a voice, but the 
warning crying aloud from on high more distinctly than any trumpet. However, as I was 
saying, “Yet three days,” said the prophet, “and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” A terrible 

warning indeed, but now we have nothing even like that; no, there are no longer “three 

»282 

days,’ nor is there a Nineveh to be overthrown, but many days are already past since the 
Church throughout all the world has been overthrown, and leveled with the ground, and 
all alike are overwhelmed in the evil; nay more, of those that are in high places the stress is 
so much the greater. Wonder not therefore if I should exhort you to do greater things than 
the Ninevites; and why? nay more, I do not now proclaim a fast only, but I suggest to you 
the remedy which raised up that city also when falling. And what was that? “God saw their 
works,” saith the prophet, “that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the 
evil which He said He would do unto them.” (Jonah iii. 10.) This let us do, both we and you. 
Let us renounce the passion for riches, the lust for glory, beseeching God to stretch forth 
His hand, and to raise up our fallen members. And well may we, for our fear is not for the 
same objects as theirs; for then indeed it was only stones and timbers that were to fall, and 
bodies that were to perish; but now it is none of these; no, but souls are about to be delivered 
over to hell fire. Let us implore, let us confess unto Him, let us give thanks unto Him for 
what is past, let us entreat Him for what is to come, that we may be counted worthy to be 
delivered from this fierce and most terrible monster, and to lift up our thanksgivings to the 
loving God and Father with whom, to the Son, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, 
and honor, now, henceforth, and for ever and ever. Amen. 



281 Antioch was exposed to earthquakes. One happened A.D. 395, which might be about the date of these 
Homilies. In A.D. 458 it was almost overthrown from this cause. 

282 [See note on preceding page. — G.A.] 


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Ephesians 4:4-7 


Homily XI. 

Ephesians iv. 4-7 

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one 
Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, 
and in all. But unto each one of us was the grace given according to the measure of the 
gift of Christ. ” 

The love Paul requires of us is no common love, but that which cements us together, 
and makes us cleave inseparably to one another, and effects as great and as perfect a union 
as though it were between limb and limb. For this is that love which produces great and 
glorious fruits. Hence he saith, there is “one body”; one, both by sympathy, and by not op- 
posing the good of others, and by sharing their joy, having expressed all at once by this figure. 
He then beautifully adds, “and one Spirit,” showing that from the one body there will be 
one Spirit: or, that it is possible that there may be indeed one body, and yet not one Spirit; 
as, for instance, if any member of it should be a friend of heretics: or else he is, by this ex- 
pression, shaming them into unanimity, saying, as it were, “Ye who have received one 
Spirit, and have been made to drink at one fountain, ought not to be divided in mind”; or 
else by spirit here he means their zeal. Then he adds, “Even as ye were called in one hope 
of your calling,” that is, God hath called you all on the same terms. He hath bestowed 
nothing upon one more than upon another. To all He hath freely given immortality, to all 
eternal life, to all immortal glory, to all brotherhood, to all inheritance. He is the common 
Head of all; “He hath raised all” up, “and made them sit with Him.” (Eph. ii. 6.) Ye then 
who in the spiritual world have so great equality of privileges, whence is it that ye are high- 
minded? Is it that one is wealthy and another strong? How ridiculous must this be? For tell 
me, if the emperor some day were to take ten persons, and to array them all in purple, and 
seat them on the royal throne, and to bestow upon all the same honor, would any one of 
these, think ye, venture to reproach another, as being more wealthy or more illustrious than 
he? Surely never. And I have not yet said all; for the difference is not so great in heaven as 


283 [“The ev od)|ra means the totality of Christians as the corpus ( Christi ) mysticum; comp. Eph. ii. 16; Rom. 
xii. 5; 1 Cor. x. 17. The ev 7tve0pa is the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the corpus mysticum; comp. Eph. ii. 18; 1 Cor. 
xii. 13. The explanation, ‘one body and one soul,’ is excluded, as at variance with the context by the specifically 
Christian character of the other elements, and rendered impossible by the correct supplying of ecm (and not ‘ye 
ought to be’).” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


193 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


984 

here below we differ. There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Behold “the hope of 
your calling. One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” For can 
it be, that thou art called by the name of a greater God, another, of a lesser God? That thou 
art saved by faith, and another by works? That thou hast received remission in baptism, 
whilst another has not? “There is one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through 
all, and in all.” “Who is over all,” that is, the Lord and above all; and “through all,” that is, 
providing for, ordering all; and “in you all,” that is, who dwelleth in you all. Now this they 
own to be an attribute of the Son; so that were it an argument of inferiority, it never would 
have been said of the Father. 

oor 

“But“ unto each one of us was the grace given.” 

What then? he saith, whence are those diverse spiritual gifts? For this subject was con- 
tinually carrying away both the Ephesians themselves, and the Corinthians, and many others, 
some into vain arrogance, and others into despondency or envy. Hence he everywhere takes 
along with him this illustration of the body. Hence it is that now also he has proposed it, 
inasmuch as he was about to make mention of diverse gifts. He enters indeed into the subject 
more fully in the Epistle to the Corinthians, because it was among them that this malady 
most especially reigned: here however he has only alluded to it. And mark what he says: he 
does not say, “according to the faith of each,” lest he should throw those who have no large 
attainments into despondency. But what saith he? “According to the measure of the gift of 
Christ.” The chief and principal points of all, he saith, — Baptism, the being saved by faith, 
the having God for our Father, our all partaking of the same Spirit, — these are common to 
all. If then this or that man possesses any superiority in any spiritual gift, grieve not at it; 
since his labor also is greater. He that had received the five talents, had five required of him; 
whilst he that had received the two, brought only two, and yet received no less a reward 
than the other. And therefore the Apostle here also encourages the hearer on the same 
ground, showing that gifts are bestowed not for the honor of one above another, but for the 
work of the church, even as he says further on: 

“For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministering unto the building up of 
the body of Christ.” 

Hence it is that even he himself saith, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.” (1 
Cor. ix. 16.) For example: he received the grace of Apostleship, but for this very reason, “woe 
unto him,” because he received it: whereas thou art free from the danger. 

“According to the measure.” 


284 [Note the triad of trinities: one body. 1. The Church: - one spirit. - one hope. - one Lord. 2. Christ: - 

one faith. - one baptism. - over all. 3. God: - through all. - in all. — Meyer, substantially. — G.A.] 

285 [“But (Se) forms the transition from the summary ‘all,’ ‘all,’ ‘all’ to ‘each individual’ among the Christi- 
ans.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


194 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


What is meant by, “according to the measure”? It means, “not according to our merit,” 
for then would no one have received what he has received: but of the free gift we have all 
received. And why then one more, and another less? There is nothing to cause this, he would 
say, but the matter itself is indifferent; for every one contributes towards “the building.” 
And by this too he shows, that it is not of his own intrinsic merit that one has received more 
and another less, but that it is for the sake of others, as God Himself hath measured it; since 
he saith also elsewhere, “But now hath God set the members each one of them in the body, 
even as it pleased Him.” (1 Cor. xii. 18.) And he mentions not the reason, lest he should 
deject or dispirit the hearers. 

Ver. 8. “Wherefore he saith, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and 
gave gifts unto men.” 

As though he had said, Why art thou high-minded? The whole is of God. The Prophet 
saith in the Psalm, “Thou hast received gifts among men” (Ps. lxviii. 18.), whereas the Apostle 

O O/C 

saith, “He gave gifts unto men.” The one is the same as the other. 

Ver. 9, 10. “Now this, He ascended, what is it, but that He also descended into the lower 
parts of the earth? He that descended, is the same also that ascended far above all the 
Heavens, that He might fill all things.” 

When thou hearest these words, think not of a mere removal from one place to another; 
for what Paul establishes in the Epistle to the Philippians (Philip, ii. 5-8.), that very argu- 
ment" is he also insisting upon here. In the same way as there, when exhorting them 
concerning lowliness, he brings forward Christ as an example, so does he here also, saying, 
“He descended into the lower parts of the earth.” For were not this so, this expression which 
he uses, “He became obedient even unto death” (Philip, ii. 8, 9.), were superfluous; whereas 
from His ascending, he implies His descent, and by “the lower parts of the earth,” he means 
“death,” according to the notions of men; as Jacob also said, “Then shall ye bring down my 
gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.” (Gen. xxxii. 48.) And again as it is in the Psalm, “Lest 
I become like them that go down into the pit” (Ps. cxliii. 7.), that is like the dead. Why does 
he descant upon this region here? And of what captivity does he speak? Of that of the devil; 


286 [“He quotes Ps. lxviii. 18, with the freedom of a Messianic interpretation of the words, and his exposition 
of the Hebrew words yielded essentially the sense expressed by him. So he took 023333333 in the sense: ‘Thou 
didst take away gifts to distribute them among men,’ and then translated this in an explanatory way, eScoke, 
&c.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

287 [This view of Chrysostom is quite at variance with the context. Ellicott says: To evince still more clearly 
the correctness of the Messianic application of the words just cited, St. Paul urges the antithesis implied by 
av£|3q, namely, Kar£|3q, a predication applicable to Christ only, the tacit assumption being that He who is the 
subject of the citation is one whose seat was heaven. Compare John iii. 13. — G.A.] 


195 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


for He took the tyrant captive, the devil, I mean, and death, and the curse, and sin. Behold 
His spoils and His trophies. 

“Now this, He ascended, what is it but that He also descended?” 

This strikes at Paul of Samosata and his school. 

“He that descended, is the same also that ascended far above all the Heavens, that He 
might fill all things.” 

He descended, saith he, into the lower parts of the earth, beyond which there are none 
other: and He ascended up far above all things, to that place, beyond which there is none 
other. This is to show His divine energy, and supreme dominion. For indeed even of old 
had all things been filled. 

Ver. 1 1, 12. “And He gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; 
and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, 
unto the building up of the body of Christ.” 

What he said elsewhere, “Wherefore also God hath highly exalted Him” (Philip, ii. 9.), 
that saith he also here. “He that descended, is the same also that ascended.” It did Him no 
injury that He came down into the lower parts of the earth, nor was it any hindrance to His 
becoming far higher than the Heavens. So that the more a man is humbled, so much the 
more is he exalted. For as in the case of water, the more a man presses it downwards, the 
more he forces it up; and the further a man retires to hurl a javelin, the surer his aim; so is 
it also with humility. However, when we speak of ascents with reference to God, we must 
needs conceive a descent first; but when with reference to man, not at all so. Then he goes 
on to show further His providential care, and His wisdom, for He who hath wrought such 
things as these, who had such might, and who refused not to go down even to those lower 
parts for our sakes, never would He have made these distributions of spiritual gifts without 
a purpose. Now elsewhere he tells us that this was the work of the Spirit, in the words, “In 
the which the Holy Ghost hath made you bishops to feed the Church of God.” And here 

he saith that it is the Son; and elsewhere that it is God. “And He gave to the Church some 
apostles, and some prophets.” But in the Epistle to the Corinthians, he saith, “I planted, 
Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” And again, “Now he that planteth and he that 
watereth are one: but each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Cor. 


288 Paul was Bishop of Antioch A.D. 260-269, when he was deposed for heresy. Very different accounts are 
given of his particular doctrines: St. Athanasius may be securely followed, however, who says that he denied the 
doctrine of our Lord’s preexistence, asserted that He was a mere man, and that the Word of God was in Him. 
vid. Orat. i. 25, 38; ii. 13; iii. 51. De decret. 24, &c., &c. [See Schaff s History of Christian Ch., Vol. II., pp. 575, 
576. — G.A.] 

289 [Both here and in Horn. xliv. on Acts (xx. 28) Chrysostom reads Kupiou instead of 0eou. The latter is, 
however, the reading of 0 B., and is adopted by W. & H. and the Rev. Ver. (as well as the textus receptus). — G.A.] 

196 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


iii. 6-8.) So is it also here; for what if thou bring in but little? Thou hast received so much. 
First, he says, “apostles”; 290 for these had all gifts; secondarily, “prophets,” for there were 
some who were not indeed apostles, but prophets, as Agabus; thirdly, “evangelists,” who 
did not go about everywhere, but only preached the Gospel, as Priscilla and Aquila; “pastors 
and teachers,” those who were entrusted with the charge of a whole nation. What then? are 
the pastors and the teachers inferior? Yes, surely; those who were settled and employed 
about one spot, as Timothy and Titus, were inferior to those who went about the world and 
preached the Gospel. However, it is not possible from this passage to frame the subordination 
and precedence, but from another Epistle. “He gave,” saith he; thou must not say a word to 
gainsay it. Or perhaps by “evangelists” he means those who wrote the Gospel. 

“For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of 
the body of Christ.” 291 

Perceive ye the dignity of the office? Each one edifies, each one perfects, each one min- 
isters. 

Ver. 13. “Till we all attain,” he proceeds, “unto the unity of the faith and of the knowledge 
of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of 
Christ.” 

By “stature” here he means perfect “knowledge”; for as a man will stand firmly, whereas 
children are carried about and waver in mind, so is it also with believers. 

“To the unity,” saith he, “of the faith.” 

That is, until we shall be shown to have all one faith: for this is unity of faith, when we 
all are one, when we shall all alike acknowledge the common bond. Till then thou must 
labor to this end. If for this thou hast received a gift, that thou mightest edify others, look 
well that thou overturn not thyself, by envying another. God hath honored thee, and ordained 
thee, that thou shouldest build up another. Yea, for about this was the Apostle also engaged; 
and for this was the prophet prophesying and persuading, and the Evangelist preaching the 
Gospel, and for this was the pastor and teacher; all had undertaken one common work. For 
tell me not of the difference of the spiritual gifts; but that all had one work. Now when we 
shall all believe alike then shall there be unity; for that this is what he calls “a perfect man,” 
is plain. And yet he elsewhere calls us “babes” (1 Cor. xiii. 11.), even when we are of mature 


290 [“The Apostles had an immediate call from Christ, a destination for all lands and a special power of 
miracles. Prophets: not only in the special sense, but also those who spoke under the immediate impulse of the 
Holy Spirit; Evangelists were subordinates of the Apostles who traveled about. Pastors and teachers, constituting 
one and the same class, were stationary, and probably included presbyters. — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

291 [The proper relation of these prepositional phrases is brought out in Meyer’s translation: He has, with a 
view to the full furnishing of the saints, given those teachers for the work of ministering, for the edification of 
the body of Christ. So Ellicott. — G.A.] 


197 


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age; but he is there looking to another comparison, for there it is in comparison with our 
future knowledge that he there calls us babes. For having said, “We know in part” (1 Cor. 
xiii. 9, 12.), he adds also the word “darkly,” and the like: whereas here he speaks with reference 
to another thing, with reference to changeableness, as he saith also elsewhere, “But solid 
food is for full-grown men.” (Heb. v. 14.) Do you see then also in what sense he there calls 
them full-grown? Observe also in what sense he calls men “perfect” here, by the words next 
added, where he says, “that we maybe no longer children.” That we keep, he means to say, 
that little measure, which we may have received, with all diligence, with firmness and 
steadfastness. 

Ver. 14. “That we maybe no longer.” — The word, “no longer,” shows that they had of 
old been in this case, and he reckons himself moreover as a subject for correction, and corrects 
himself. For this cause, he would say, are there so many workmen, that the building may 
not be shaken, may not be “carried about,” that the stones may be firmly fixed. For this 
is the character of children, to be tossed to and fro, to be carried about and shaken. “That 
we may be no longer,” saith he, “children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every 
wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error.” “And carried 
about,” saith he, “with every wind.” He comes to this figure of speech, to point out in how 
great peril doubting souls are. “With every wind,” saith he, “by the sleight of men, in crafti- 
ness, after the wiles of error.” The word “sleight” means the art of gamesters. Such are 
the “crafty,” whenever they lay hold on the simpler sort. For they also change and shift about 
everything. He here glances also at human life. 

Ver. 15, 16. “But speaking truth,” 294 saith he, “in love, may grow up in all things into 
Him, which is the Head, even Christ, from whom,” (that is, from Christ,) “all the body fitly 
framed and knit together, through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working 
in due measure of each several part, maketh increase of the body unto the building up of 
itself in love.” 

He expresses himself with great obscurity, from his desire to utter everything at once. 
What he means, however, is this. In the same way as the spirit, or vital principle, which 
descends from the brain, communicates the sensitive faculty which is conveyed through the 
nerves, not simply to all the members, but according to the proportion of each member, to 
that which is capable of receiving more, more, to that which is capable of less, less, (for the 


292 [“It is not the figure of a building which Paul employs here, but of a ship abandoned to the breakers, on 
which figurative expression of restless passive subjection to influences, compare Jas. i. 6.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

293 Ku|l£La kuPeutcu. 

294 [“aXr|0£uovT£c;: The common meaning, ‘To speak truth,’ is clearly unsatisfactory here. It means ‘holding 
the truth.’” — Ellicott. “Professing the truth,” Thayer, Lexicon. Rev. Ver. has in margin “dealing truly.” Meyer 
says it means here, as always, “speaking the truth,” and correctly. — G.A.] 


198 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


spirit is the root or source;) so also is Christ. For the souls of men being dependent upon 
Him as members, His provident care, and supply of the spiritual gifts according to a due 
proportion in the measure of every single member, effects their increase. But what is the 
meaning of this, “by the touch of the supply”? that is to say, by the sensitive faculty. 

For that spirit which is supplied to the members from the head, “touches,” each single 
member, and thus actuates it. As though one should say, “the body receiving the supply 
according to the proportion of its several members, thus maketh the increase”; or, in other 
words, “the members receiving the supply according to the proportion of their proper 
measure, thus make increase”; or otherwise again thus, “the spirit flowing plenteously from 

noo 

above, and touching" all the members, and supplying them as each is capable of “receiving 
it, thus maketh increase.” But wherefore doth he add, “in love”? Because in no other way is 
it possible for that Spirit to descend. For as, in case a hand should happen to be torn from 
the body, the spirit which proceeds from the brain seeks the limb, and if it finds it not, does 
not leap forth from the body, and fly about and go to the hand, but if it finds it not in its 
place, does not touch it; so also will it be here, if we be not bound together in love. All these 
expressions he uses as tending to humility. For what, he seems to say, if this or that man 
receives more than another? He has received the same Spirit, sent forth from the same Head, 
effectually working in all alike, communicating itself to all alike. 

“Fitly framed and knit together.” 

That is, having great care bestowed upon it; for the body must not be put together any- 
how, but with exceeding art and nicety, since if it gets out of place, it is no longer. So that 
each must not only be united to the body, but also occupy his proper place, since if thou 
shalt go beyond this, thou art not united to it, neither dost thou receive the Spirit. Dost thou 
not see, that in those dislocations of the bones which take place in any accident, when a 
bone gets out of its proper place and occupies that of another, how it injures the whole body, 
and oftentimes will produce death? So that sometimes it will be found to be no longer worth 
preserving. For many in many cases will cut it off, and leave a void in its place; because 
everywhere what is in excess is an evil. And so again with the elements, if they lose their 
proper proportion and be in excess, they impair the whole system. This is the meaning of 


295 dcprjc, “joint,” Eng. Tr. Theodoret, too, in loc. interprets touch, and considers that it stands for all the 
senses. S. Austin translates tactus in Psalm x. 7, de Civ. D. xxii. 1 8, but in the received meaning. [See Meyer. — G.A.] 

296 [“Meyer still retains the interpretation of Chrysostom and Theodoret that d(pfi=aia0r|aLc;, “feeling,” 
“perception,” and connects the clause with au^r|oiv ttoleItcu: but the parallel passage, Col. ii. 19, leaves it scarcely 
doubtful that the meaning usually assigned is correct, and that the clause is to be connected with the parti- 
ciples.” — Ellicott. So Thayer, Lex., Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 

297 cmropevov. 

298 ditropevov. 


199 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


the being “fitly framed and knit together.” Consider then of how vast importance it is, that 
each should remain in his own proper place, and not encroach on another which in nowise 
appertains to him. Thou puttest the members together, He supplieth them from above. For 
as there are in the body such recipient organs, as we have seen, so is it also with the Spirit, 
the whole root or source being from above. For example, the heart is the recipient of the 
breath, the liver of the blood, the spleen of the bile, and the other organs, some of one thing, 
others of another, but all these have their source from the brain. So also hath God done, 
highly honoring man, and being unwilling to be far from him, He hath made Himself indeed 
the source of his dependence, and hath constituted them fellow- workers with Himself; and 
some He hath appointed to one office, and others to another. For example, the Apostle is 
the most vital vessel of the whole body, receiving everything from Him; so that He maketh 
eternal life to run through them to all, as through veins and arteries, I mean through their 
discourse. The Prophet foretells things to come, whilst He alone ordereth the same; Thou 
puttest the members together , 299 but He supplies them with life, “For the perfecting of the 
saints, for the work of the ministry.” Love builds up, and makes men cleave one to another, 
and be fastened and fitted together. 

Moral. If therefore we desire to have the benefit of that Spirit which is from the Head, 
let us cleave one to another. For there are two kinds of separation from the body of the 
Church; the one, when we wax cold in love, the other, when we dare commit things unworthy 
of our belonging to that body; for in either way we cut ourselves off from the “fullness of 
Christ.” But if we are appointed to build up others also, what shall not be done to them who 
are first to make division? Nothing will so avail to divide the Church as love of power. 
Nothing so provokes God’s anger as the division of the Church. Yea, though we have achieved 
ten thousand glorious acts, yet shall we, if we cut to pieces the fullness of the Church, suffer 
punishment no less sore than they who mangled His body. For that indeed was brought to 
pass for the benefit of the world, even though it was done with no such intention; whereas 
this produces no advantage in any case, but the injury is excessive. These remarks I am ad- 
dressing not to the governors only, but also to the governed. Now a certain holy man said 
what might seem to be a bold thing; yet, nevertheless, he spoke it out. What then is this? He 
said, that not even the blood of martyrdom can wash out this sin . 300 For tell me for what 


299 [The text fluctuates here. We have given that of Field, though neither it nor any of the other readings 
yields a satisfactory sense. Field’s text is, ouvtlGeu; rd |t£\r|, clutol; clutoIl; (u)f)v xopiyysi. Another text, attested 
by three mss., has ouvtlGeu; rd g£oa, clutol; clutoIl; (u)f)v xoptyyEi. Savile’s text, supported by three mss., has kcl'l 
ekeTvol; |tev ouvtlGeT rd oora, clutol; Se (a)f)v xopriyEi. It will be noticed that this same expression occurs a little 
above, followed by a clause like that which follows here. — G.A.] 

300 “What sacrifice do they believe they celebrate who are rivals of the Priests?” “If such men were even killed 
for confession of the Christian name, not even by their blood is this stain washed out.. . .He cannot be a Martyr, 
who is not in the Church.” — St. Cyprian, Treat, v. 12, p. 141. 


200 



Ephesians 4:4-7 


dost thou suffer as a martyr? Is it not for the glory of Christ? Thou then that yieldest up thy 
life for Christ’s sake, how dost thou lay waste the Church, for whose sake Christ yielded up 
His life? Hear what Paul saith, “I am not meet to be called an Apostle (1 Cor. xv. 9.), because 
I persecuted the Church of God and made havoc of it.” (Gal. i. 13.) This injury is not less 
than that received at the hands of enemies, nay, it is far greater. For that indeed renders her 
even more glorious, whereas this, when she is warred upon by her own children, disgraces 
her even before her enemies. Because it seems to them a great mark of hypocrisy, that those 
who have been born in her, and nurtured in her bosom, and have learned perfectly her 
secrets, that these should of a sudden change, and do her enemies’ work. 

I mean these remarks for those who give themselves up indiscriminately to the men 
who are dividing the Church. For if on the one hand those men have doctrines also contrary 
to ours, then on that account further it is not right to mix with them: if, on the other hand, 
they hold the same opinions, the reason for not mixing with them is greater still. And why 
so? Because then the disease is from lust of authority. Know ye not what was the fate of 
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram? (Num. xvi. 1-35.) Of them only did I say? Was it not also of 
them that were with them? What wilt thou say? Shall it be said, “Their faith is the same, they 
are orthodox as well as we”? If so, why then are they not with us? There is “one Lord, one 
faith, one baptism.” If their cause is right, then is ours wrong; if ours is right, then is theirs 
wrong. “Children,” saith he, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind.” Tell 

on i 

me, dost thou think this is enough, to say that they are orthodox? Is then the ordination 

ono ono 

of clergy past and done away? And what is the advantage of other things, if this be 

not strictly observed? For as we must needs contend for the faith; so must we for this also. 
For if it is lawful for any one, according to the phrase of them of old, “to fill his hands,” 304 
and to become a priest, let all approach to minister. In vain has this altar been raised, in vain 
the fullness of the Church, in vain the number of the priests. Let us take them away and 
destroy them. “God forbid!” ye will say. You are doing these things, and do ye say, “God 
forbid”? How say ye, “God forbid,” when the very things are taking place? I speak and 


301 [See Bingham, Ant. Bk. iv. ch. vi. sec. 11. — G.A.] 

302 x £1 P OTOV ' a S- At this time there were two orthodox successions in Antioch, that of Paulinus and Evagrius, 
who were successively representatives of the old line which the Arians had dispossessed, and which Western 
Christendom supported; and that of Meletius and Flavian, to which St. Chrysostom adhered, and the Eastern 
Church generally, being the Arian succession conformed to orthodoxy. The schism was terminated A.D. 392, 
on the death of Evagrius, though his party continued for twenty years longer. 

303 [tcov aXXtov, wanting in the text of Field, is attested by four good authorities, and yields the only sense 
that suits the context. — G.A.] 

304 Exodus xxix. 9. Our translation has, “Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons”; the margin gives the 
literal rendering, “Thou shalt fill the hands of Aaron.” 


201 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


testify, not looking to my own interest, but to your salvation. But if any one be indifferent, 
he must see to it himself: if these things are a care to no one else, yet are they a care to me. 
“I planted,” saith he, “Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.” (1 Cor. iii. 6.) How shall 
we bear the ridicule of the Greeks? For if they reproach us on account of our heresies, what 
will they not say of these things? “If they have the same doctrines, if the same mysteries, 
wherefore does a ruler in one Church invade another? See ye,” say they, “how all things 
amongst the Christians are full of vainglory? And there is an ambition among them, and 
hypocrisy. Strip them,” say they, “of their numbers, and they are nothing. Cut out the disease, 
the corrupt multitude.” Would ye have me tell what they say of our city, how they accuse 
us on the score of our easy compliances? Any one, say they, that chooses may find followers, 
and would never be at a loss for them. Oh, what a sneer is that, what a disgrace are these 
things! And yet the sneer is one thing, the disgrace is another. If any amongst us are convicted 
of deeds the most disgraceful, and are about to meet with some penalty, great is the alarm, 
great is the fear on all sides, lest he should start away, people say, and join the other side. 
Yea, let such an one start away ten thousand times, and let him join them. And I speak not 
only of those who have sinned, but if there be any one free from offense, and he has a mind 
to depart, let him depart. I am grieved indeed at it, and bewail and lament it, and am cut to 
the very heart, as though I were being deprived of one of my own limbs; and yet I am not 
so grieved, as to be compelled to do anything wrong through such fear as this. We have “not 
lordship over your faith” (2 Cor. i. 24.), beloved, nor command we these things as your lords 
and masters. We are appointed for the teaching of the word, not for power, nor for absolute 
authority. We hold the place of counselors to advise you. The counselor speaks his own 
sentiments, not forcing the hearer, but leaving him full master of his choice upon what is 
said; in this case alone is he blameable, if he fail to utter the things which present themselves. 
For this cause do we also say these things, these things do we assert, that it may not be in 
your power in that day to say, “No one told us, no one gave us commandment, we were ig- 
norant, we thought it was no sin at all.” Therefore I assert and protest, that to make a schism 
in the Church is no less an evil than to fall into heresy. Tell me, suppose a subject of some 
king, though he did not join himself to another king, nor give himself to any other, yet 
should take and keep hold of his king’s royal purple, and should tear it all from its clasp, 
and rend it into many shreds; would he suffer less punishment than those who join themselves 
to the service of another? And what, if withal he were to seize the king himself by the throat 
and slay him, and tear his body limb from limb, what punishment could he undergo, that 
should be equal to his deserts? Now if in doing this toward a king, his fellow-servant, he 
would be committing an act too great for any punishment to reach; of what hell shall not 
he be worthy who slays Christ, and plucks Him limb from limb? of that one which is 
threatened? No, I think not, but of another far more dreadful. 


202 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


Of\r 

Speak, ye women, that are present, — for this generally is a failing of women, — relate 
to them that are absent this similitude which I have made; startle them. If any think to grieve 
me and thus to have their revenge, let them be well aware that they do these things in vain. 
For if thou wishest to revenge thyself on me, I will give thee a method by which thou mayest 
take vengeance without injury to thyself; or rather without injury it is not possible to revenge 
thyself, but at all events with less injury. Buffet me, woman, spit upon me, when thou meetest 
me in the public way, and aim blows at me. Dost thou shudder at hearing this? When I bid 
thee buffet me, dost thou shudder, and dost thou tear thy Lord and Master and not shudder? 
Dost thou pluck asunder the limbs of thy Lord and Master, and not tremble? The Church 
is our Father’s house. “There is one body, and one Spirit.” But dost thou wish to revenge 
thyself on me? Yet stop at me. Why dost thou revenge thyself on Christ in my stead? nay, 
rather, why kick against the nails? In no case indeed is revenge good and right, but to assault 
one when another has done the wrong is far worse. Is it I that wronged you? Why then inflict 
pain on Him who hath not wronged you? This is the very extreme of madness. I speak not 
in irony what I am about to say, nor without purpose, but as I really think and as I feel. I 
would that every one of those who with you are exasperated against me, and who by this 
exasperation are injuring themselves, and departing elsewhere, would direct his blows at 
me in my very face, would strip me and scourge me, be his charge against me just or unjust, 
and let loose his wrath upon me, rather than that they should dare to commit what they 
now dare. If this were done, it were nothing; nothing, that a man who is a mere nothing and 
of no account whatever, should be so treated. And besides, I, the wronged and injured person, 
might call upon God, and He might forgive you your sins. Not because I have so great 
confidence; but because when he who has been wronged, entreats for him who has done 
the wrong, he gains great confidence. “If one man sin against another,” it is said, “then shall 
they pray for him” (1 Sam. ii. 25.); and if I were unable, I might seek for other holy men, 
and entreat them, and they might do it. But now whom shall we even entreat, when God is 
outraged by us? 

Mark the consistency; for of those who belong to this Church, some never approach to 
communicate at all, or but once in the year, and then without purpose, and just as it may 
happen; others more regularly indeed, yet they too carelessly and without purpose, and 


305 St. Chrysostom was eventually banished and brought to his end by the Empress Eudoxia. Women had 
taken a strong part with the Arians from the first, to which perhaps he alludes. When Arius began his heresy, 
he was joined by seven hundred single women. Epiphan. Hcer. 69, 3; vid. also Socr. ii. 2, of the Court , Greg. Naz. 
Or. 48, of Constantinople, &c., &c. 

306 [This is the reading of the Septuagint, as follows: av etq avGpcoirov tic; dpdprr|, Ttpoaeu^ovTai rcepi aurou. 
The Hebrew, however, is different, and reads, “If one man sin against another, God shall judge him; but if a man 
sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?” So the Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 


203 


Ephesians 4:4-7 


while engaged in conversation, and trifling about nothing: whilst those who, forsooth, seem 
to be in earnest, these are the very persons who work this mischief. Yet surely, if it is for 
these things ye are in earnest, it were better that ye also were in the ranks of the indifferent; 
or rather it were better still, that neither they should be indifferent, nor you such as ye are. 
I speak not of you that are present, but of those who are deserting from us. The act is adultery. 
And if ye bear not to hear these things of them, neither should ye of us. There must be breach 
of the law either on the one side or the other. If then thou hast these suspicions concerning 
me, I am ready to retire from my office, and resign it to whomsoever ye may choose. Only 
let the Church be one. But if I have been lawfully made and consecrated, entreat those who 
have contrary to the law mounted the episcopal throne to resign it. 

These things I have said, not as dictating to you, but only to secure and protect you. 
Since every one of you is come to age, and will have to give account of the things which he 
has done, I entreat you not to cast the whole matter on us, and consider yourselves to be 
irresponsible, that ye may not go on fruitlessly deceiving yourselves, and at last bewail it. 
An account indeed we shall have to give of your souls; but it will be when we have been 
wanting on our part, when we fail to exhort, when we fail to admonish, when we fail to 
protest. But after these words, allow even me to say that “I am pure from the blood of all 
men” (Acts xx. 26.); and that “God will deliver my soul.” (Ezek. iii. 19, 21.) Say what ye will, 
give a just cause why ye depart, and I will answer you. But no, ye will not state it. Wherefore 
I entreat you, endeavor henceforward both to resist nobly and to bring back those who have 
seceded, that we may with one accord lift up thanksgiving to God; for to Him belongs the 
glory for ever and ever. Amen. 


204 


Ephesians 4:17 


Homily XII. 

Ephesians iv. 17 

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, 

in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding.” 

It is the duty of the teacher to build up and restore the souls of his disciples, not only 
by counseling and instructing them, but also by alarming them, and delivering them up to 
God. For when the words spoken by men as coming from fellow-servants are not sufficient 
to kindle the soul, it then becomes necessary to make over the case to God. This accordingly 
Paul does also; for having discoursed concerning lowliness, and concerning unity, and 
concerning our duty not to rise up one against another, hear what he says. “This I say 
therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk.” He does 
not say, “That ye henceforth walk not as ye are now walking,” for that expression would 
have struck too hard. But he plainly indicates the same thing, only he brings his example 
from others. And so in writing to the Thessalonians, he does this very same thing, where 
he says, “Not in the passion of lust, even as the Gentiles which know not God.” (1 Thess. iv. 
5.) Ye differ from them, he means to say, in doctrine, but that is wholly God’s work: what I 
require on your path is the life and the course of behavior that is after God. This is your 
own. And I call the Lord to witness what I have said, that I have not shrunk, but have told 
you how ye ought to walk. 

“In the vanity,” saith he, “of their mind.” 

What is vanity of mind? It is the being busied about vain things. And what are those 
vain things, but all things in the present life? Of which the Preacher saith, “Vanity of vanities, 
all is vanity.” (Eccles. i. 2.) But a man will say, If they be vain and vanity, wherefore were 
they made? If they are God’s works, how are they vain? And great is the dispute concerning 
these things. But hearken, beloved: it is not the works of God which he calls vain; God forbid! 
The Heaven is not vain, the earth is not vain, — God forbid! — nor the sun, nor the moon 
and stars, nor our own body. No, all these are “very good.” (Gen. i. 31.) But what is vain? 
Let us hear the Preacher himself, what he saith; “I planted me vineyards, I gat me men 
singers and women singers, I made me pools of water, I had great possession of herds and 
flocks, I gathered me also silver and gold, and I saw that these are vanity.” (Eccles. ii. 4-8.) 


307 [Modern exegesis has made more logical analysis, and indicated more carefully and correctly the transitions 
from one thought or branch of the subject to another, than the ancient. Comp. Meyer, Lightfoot, Schaff, and 
especially the paragraphing of the Rev. Ver. On this passage Meyer says: The exhortation begun at w. 1-3, and 
interrupted by the digression w. 4-16, is here resumed by the ohv, and the “walking worthily” of v. 1 is now 
followed up in the form, “that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk,” &c. — G.A.] 


205 


Ephesians 4:17 


And again, “Vanity of vanities, all things are vanity.” (Eccles. xii. 8.) Hear also what the 
Prophet saith, “He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.” (Ps. xxxix. 
6.) Such is “vanity of vanities,” your splendid buildings, your vast and overflowing riches, 
the herds of slaves that bustle along the public square, your pomp and vainglory, your high 

•3 no 

thoughts, and your ostentation. For all these are vain; they came not from the hand of 
God, but are of our own creating. But why then are they vain? Because they have no useful 
end. Riches are vain when they are spent upon luxury; but they cease to be vain when they 
are “dispersed and given to the needy.” (Ps. cxii. 9.) But when thou hast spent them upon 
luxury, let us look at the end of them, what it is; — grossness of body, flatulence, pantings, 
fullness of belly, heaviness of head, softness of flesh, feverishness, enervation; for as a man 
who shall draw into a leaking vessel labors in vain, so also does the one who lives in luxury 
and self-indulgence draw into a leaking vessel. But again, that is called “vain,” which is ex- 
pected indeed to contain something, but contains it not; — that which men call empty, as 
when they speak of “empty hopes.” And generally that is called “vain,” which is bare and 
purposeless, which is of no use. Let us see then whether all human things are not of this 
sort. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. xv. 32.) What then, tell me, is the 
end? Corruption. Let us put on clothing and raiment. And what is the result? Nothing. Such 
are the lives of the Greeks. They philosophized, but in vain. They made a show of a life of 
hardship, but of mere hardship, not looking to any beneficial end, but to vainglory, and to 
honor from the many. But what is the honor of the many? It is nothing, for if they themselves 
which render the honor perish, much more does the honor. He that renders honor to another, 
ought first to render it to himself; for if he gain not honor for himself, how can he ever 
render it to another? Whereas now we seek even honors from vile and despicable characters, 
themselves dishonorable, and objects of reproach. What kind of honor then is this? Perceive 
ye, how that all things are “vanity of vanities”? Therefore, saith he, “in the vanity of their 
mind.” 

But further, is not their religion of this sort, wood and stone? He hath made the sun to 
shine for a lamp to light us. Who will worship his own lamp? The sun supplies us with light, 
but where he cannot, a lamp can do it. Then why not worship thy lamp? “Nay,” one will 
say, “I worship the fire.” Oh, how ridiculous! So great is the absurdity, and yet look again 
at another absurdity. Why extinguish the object of thy worship? Why destroy, why annihilate 
thy god? Wherefore dost thou not suffer thy house to be filled with him? For if the fire be 
god, let him feed upon thy body. Put not thy god under the bottom of thy kettle, or thy 


308 [“‘Vanity’ here is rather the subjective sphere in which the walk of the other Gentiles takes place, namely, 
in nothingness of their thinking and willing (vouch and is to be understood of the whole intellectual and moral 
character of heathenism.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


206 


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cauldron . 309 Bring him into thy inner chambers, bring him within thy silken draperies. 
Whereas not only dost thou not bring him in, but if by any accident he has found entrance, 
thou drivest him out from every place, thou callest everybody together, and, as though some 
wild beast had entered, thou weepest and wailest, and callest the presence of thy god an 
overwhelming calamity. I have a God, and I do all I can to enshrine Him in my bosom, and 
I deem it my true bliss, not when He visits my dwelling, but when I can draw Him even to 
my heart. Do thou too draw the fire to thine heart. This is folly and vanity. Fire is good for 
use, not for adoration; good for ministration and for service, to be my slave, not to be my 
master. It was made for me, not I for it. If thou art a worshiper of fire, why recline upon thy 
couch thyself, and order thy cook to stand before thy god? Take up the art of cookery thyself, 
become a baker if thou wilt, or a coppersmith, for nothing can be more honorable than these 
arts, since these are they that thy god visits. Why deem that art a disgrace, where thy god is 
all in all? Why commit it to thy slaves, and not be ambitious of it thyself? Fire is good, 
inasmuch as it is the work of a good Creator, but it is not God. It is the work of God, it was 
not called God. Seest thou not how ungovernable is its nature; — how when it lays hold on 
a building it stops nowhere? But if it seizes anything continuous, it destroys all; and, except 
the hands of workmen or others quench its fury, it knows not friends nor foes, but deals 
with all alike. Is this then your god, and are ye not ashamed? Well indeed does he say, “in 
the vanity of their mind.” 

But the sun, they say, is God. Tell me, how and wherefore. Is it that he sheds abundance 
of light? Yet dost thou not see him overcome by clouds, and in bondage to the necessity of 
nature, and eclipsed, and hidden by the moon? And yet the cloud is weaker than the sun; 
but still it often gains the mastery of him. And this indeed is the work of God’s wisdom. 
God must needs be all sufficient: but the sun needs many things; and this is not like a god. 
For he requires air to shine in, and that, too, thin air; since the air, when it is greatly con- 
densed, suffers not the rays to pass through it. He requires also water, and other restraining 
power, to prevent him from consuming. For were it not that fountains, and lakes, and rivers, 
and seas, formed some moisture by the emission of their vapors, there would be nothing to 
prevent an universal conflagration. Dost thou see then, say ye, that he is a god? What folly, 
what madness! A god, say ye, because he has power to do harm. Nay, rather, for this very 
reason is he no god, because where he does harm he needs nothing; whereas, where he does 
good, he requires many things besides. Now to do harm, is foreign to God’s nature; to do 
good, is His property. Where then the reverse is the case, how can he be God? Seest thou 
not that poisonous drugs injure, and need nothing; but when they are to do good, need 
many things? For thy sake then is he such as he is, both good, and powerless; good, that 


309 [Compare 1 Kings xviii. 27, the locus classicus where Elijah uses his scathing irony against the priests of 
Baal. — G.A.] 


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thou mayest acknowledge his Lord; and powerless, that thou mayest not say that he is lord. 
“But,” say they, “he nourishes the plants and the seeds.” What then, at that rate is not the 
very dung a god? for even that also nourishes. And why not at that rate the scythe as well, 
and the hands of the husbandman? Prove to me that the sun alone does the work of nour- 
ishing without needing the help of either earth, or water, or tillage; but let the seeds be sown, 
and let him shed forth his rays, and produce the ears of corn. But now if this work be not 
his alone, but that of the rains also, wherefore is not the water a god also? But of this I speak 
not yet. Why is not the earth too a god, and why not the dung, and the hoe? Shall we then, 
tell me, worship all? Alas, what trifling! And indeed rather might the ear of corn be produced 
without sun, than without earth and water; and so with plants and all other things. Were 
there no earth, none of these things could ever appear. And if any one, as children and women 
do, were to put some earth into a pot, and to fill up the pot with a quantity of dung, and to 
place it under the roof, plants, though they may be weak ones, will be produced from it. So 
that the contribution of the earth and of the dung is greater, and these therefore we ought 
to worship rather than the sun. He requires the sky, he requires the air, he requires these 
waters, to prevent his doing harm, to be as bridles to curb the fierceness of his power, and 
to restrain him from letting loose his rays over the world, like some furious horse. And now 
tell me, where is he at night? Whither has your god taken his departure? For this is not like 
a god, to be circumscribed and limited. This is in fact the property of bodies only. But, say 
they, there is some sort of power residing in him, and he has motion. Is this power then, I 
pray you, itself God? Why then is it insufficient in itself, and why does it not restrain the 
fire? For again, I come to the same argument. But what is that power? Is it productive of 
light, or does it by the sun give light, though of itself possessing none of these qualities? If 
so, then is the sun superior to it. How far shall we unwind this maze? 

Again, what is water? is not that too, they say, a god? This again is a matter of truly absurd 
disputation. Is that not a god, they say, which we make use of for so many purposes? And 
so again, in like manner, of the earth. Truly “they walk in the vanity of their mind, being 
darkened in their understanding.” 

But these words he is now using concerning life and conduct. The Greeks are fornicators 

O 1 A 

and adulterers. Of course. They who paint to themselves such gods as these, will naturally 
do all these things; and if they can but escape the eyes of men, there is no one to restrain 
them. For what will avail the argument of a resurrection, if it appear to them a mere fable? 
Yea, and what that of the torments of hell? — they too are but a fable. And mark the Satanic 
notion. When they are told of gods who are fornicators, they deny that these are fables, but 
believe them. Yet whenever any shall discourse to them of punishment, “these,” they say, 


310 [See Schaff s History of the Christian Church, Vol. I„ pp. 72-74, with Literature there noted. — G.A.] 


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“are poets, men who turn everything into fable, that man’s happy condition may be on all 
sides overturned.” 

But the philosophers, it is said, discovered something truly grand, and far better than 
these. How? They who introduced fate, and who tell us that nothing is providential, and 

Oil 

that there is no one to care for anything, but that all things consist of atoms? Or, others 
again who say that God is a body? Or who, tell me, are they? Are they those who would turn 
the souls of men into the souls of dogs, and would pervade mankind that one was once a 
dog, and a lion, and a fish? How long will ye go on and never cease trifling, “being darkened 
in the understanding”? for they say and do all things as though they were indeed in the dark, 
both in those things which concern doctrine, and those which concern life and conduct; for 
the man who is in darkness sees none of the things which lie before him, but oftentimes 
when he sees a rope, he will take it for a live serpent, or again, if he is caught by a hedge, 
he will think that a man or an evil spirit has hold of him, and great is the alarm, and great 
the perturbation. Such as these are the things they fear. “There were they in great fear,” it 
saith, “where no fear was” (Ps. liii. 5.); but the things which they ought to fear, these they 
fear not. But just as children in their nurses’ arms thrust their hands incautiously into the 
fire, and boldly into the candle also, and yet are scared at a man clothed in sackcloth; just 
so these Greeks, as if they were really always children, (as some one also amongst themselves 

•2 1 o 

has said, the Greeks are always children,) fear those things that are no sins, such as 
filthiness of the body, the pollution of a funeral, 314 a bed, or the keeping of days, and the 
like: whereas those which are really sins, unnatural lust, adultery, fornication, of these they 
make no account at all. No, you may see a man washing himself from the pollution of a 
dead body, but from dead works, never; and, again, spending much zeal in the pursuit of 
riches, and yet supposing the whole is undone by the crowing of a single cock. “So darkened 
are they in their understanding.” Their soul is filled with all sorts of terrors. For instance: 
“Such a person,” one will say, “was the first who met me, as I was going out of the house”; 
of course ten thousand evils must certainly ensue. At another time, “the wretch of a servant 

11 r 

in giving me my shoes, held out the left shoe first,” — terrible mishaps and mischiefs! “I 


311 [On Democritus and Leucippus, founders of the Atomistic philosophy, see Ueberweg’s Hist, of Philosophy 
(Amer. ed.), Vol. I„ pp. 67-71; on Epicurus, Vol. I., pp. 205-207. — G.A.] 

312 This was the instance in the Schools. Vid. Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrh. Hypot. I. 33. 

313 The Egyptian priest to Solon. Plat. Tim. p. 22, B. 

314 Vid. Theophr. Charact. xvi. 7t£pi deLOLSaLpovicK;; Guther de Jure Manium in Grcev. Thes. 12, 1175; Hes. 
Opp. et D. 765, sqq. 

315 Vid. Plin. N. H. 2, 7; Juv. Sat. 6, 579. These and like superstitions are condemned also by Clem. Alex. 
Strom, vii. 4, pp. 842-844; St. Cyril of Jerus. iv. 37, and St. Aust. deDoctr. Christ, ii. 20, 21. This series, Vol. II., 
p. 545. See also St. Chrys. ad Ilium Catech. ii. 5. This series, Vol. IX., p. 170. — G.A. 


209 


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myself in coming out set forth with the left foot foremost”; and this too is a token of misfor- 
tune. And these are the evils that occur about the house. Then, as I go out, my right eye 
shoots up from beneath. This is a sure sign of tears. Again the women, when the reeds strike 
against the standards, and ring, or when they themselves are scratched by the shuttle, turn 
this also into a sign. And again, when they strike the web with the shuttle, and do it with 
some vehemence, and then the reeds on the top from the intensity of the blow strike against 
the standards and ring, this again they make a sign, and ten thousand things besides, de- 
serving of ridicule. And so if an ass should bray, or a cock should crow, or a man should 
sneeze, or whatever else may happen, like men bound with ten thousand chains, or, as I was 
saying, like men confined in the dark, they suspect everything, and are more slavish than 

lie 

all the slaves in the world. 

But let it not be so with us. But scorning all these things, as men living in the light, and 
having our citizenship in Heaven, and having nothing in common with earth, let us regard 
but one thing as terrible, that is, sin, and offending against God. And if there be not this, let 
us scorn all the rest, and him that brought them in, the Devil. For these things let us give 
thanks to God. Let us be diligent, not only that we ourselves be never caught by this slavery, 
but if any of those who are dear to us have been caught, let us break his bonds asunder, let 
us release him from this most bitter and contemptible captivity, let us make him free and 
unshackled for his course toward Heaven, let us raise up his flagging wings, and teach him 
to be wise for life and doctrine’s sake. Let us give thanks to God for all things. Let us beseech 
Him that He will not declare us unworthy of the gifts offered to us, and let us ourselves 
withal endeavor to contribute our own part, that we may teach not only by speaking, but 
by acting also. For thus shall we be able to attain His unnumbered blessings, of which God 
grant we may all be counted worthy, in Christ Jesus our Lord with whom, to the Father and 
the Holy Ghost together, be glory, might, and honor, now, henceforth, and for ever and 
ever. Amen. 


316 [Compare Chrysostom’s Commentary on Gal. i. 7. — G.A.] 


210 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


Homily XIII. 

Ephesians iv. 17-19 

“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, 
in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the 
life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their 
heart: who being past feeling, gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness 
with greediness. ” 

These words are not addressed to the Ephesians only, but are now addressed also to 
you; and that, not from me, but from Paul; or rather, neither from me nor from Paul, but 
from the grace of the Spirit. And we then ought so to feel, as though that grace itself were 
uttering them. And now hear what it saith. “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, 
that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened 
in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in 
them, because of the hardening of their heart.” If then it is ignorance, if it is hardening, why 

o 1 n 

blame it? if a man is ignorant, it were just, not that he should be ill-treated for it, nor be 
blamed, but that he should be informed of those things of which he is ignorant. But mark 
how at once he cuts them off from all excuse. “Who being past feeling,” saith he, “gave 
themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness; but ye did not so 
learn Christ.” Here he shows us, that the cause of their hardening was their way of life, and 
that their life was the consequence of their own indolence and want of feeling. 

O 1 Q 

“Who being past feeling,” saith he, “gave themselves up.” 

Whenever then ye hear, that “God gave them up unto a reprobate mind” (Rom. i. 28.), 
remember this expression, that “they gave themselves up.” If then they gave themselves 
over, how did God give them over? and if again God gave them over, how did they give 
themselves over? Thou seest the seeming contradiction. The word, “gave them over,” then, 
means this, He permitted them to be given over. Seest thou, that the impure life is the 
ground for like doctrines also? “Every one,” saith the Lord, “that doeth ill hateth the light, 
and cometh not to the light.” (John iii. 20.) For how could a profligate man, one more im- 
mersed in the practice of indiscriminate lewdness than the swine that wallow in the mire, 


317 [“The cause of this estrangement of the Gentiles from the life of God is the ignorance which is in them 
through hardening of heart, consequently due to their own fault.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

318 [“The estrangement of the Gentiles from the divine life, indicated in the preceding verse, is here proved 
in conformity with experience.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

319 [“The word implies an active giving up, not mere permission.” — Meyer, Ellicott, Thayer. — G.A.] 

320 [The word “swine” (xolptov), though omitted from Field’s text, is clearly attested, and cannot be omitted 
without leaving the sense difficult and obscure. — G.A.] 


211 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


and who is a lover of money, and has not so much as any desire after temperance, enter 

on 1 

upon a life like this? They made the thing, saith he, their “work.” Hence their “hardening” 

(ver. 19), hence the “darkness of their understanding.” There is such a thing as being in the 
dark, even while the light is shining, when the eyes are weak; and weak they become, either 
by the influx of ill humors, or by superabundance of rheum. And so surely is it also here; 
when the strong current of the affairs of this life overwhelms the perceptive power of the 
understanding, it is thrown into a state of darkness. And in the same way as if we were placed 
in the depths under water, we should be unable to see the sun through the quantity of water 
lying, like a sort of barrier, above us, so surely, in the eyes of the understanding also a 
blindness of the heart takes place, that is, an insensibility, whenever there is no fear to agitate 
the soul. “There is no fear of God,” it saith, “before his eyes” (Ps. xxxvi. 1.); and again, “The 
fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Ps. xiv. 1.) Now blindness arises from no 
other cause than from want of feeling; this clogs the channel; for whenever the fluids are 
curdled and collected into one place, the limb becomes dead and void of feeling; and though 
thou burn it, or cut it, or do what thou wilt with it, still it feels not. So is it also with those 
persons, when they have once given themselves over to lasciviousness: though thou apply 
the word to them like fire, or steel, yet nothing touches, nothing reaches them; their limb 
is utterly dead. And unless thou canst remove the insensibility, so as to touch the healthy 
members, everything thou doest is vain. 

“With greediness,” saith he. 

Here he has most completely taken away their excuse; for it was in their power, if at 
least they chose it, not to be greedy,” nor to be “lascivious,” nor gluttonous, and yet to 

0-0 O 

enjoy their desires. It was in their power to partake in moderation of riches, and even of 

on a 

pleasure and of luxury; but when they indulged the thing immoderately, they destroyed 

all. 


321 [Namely, “to work all uncleanness,” &c. — G.A.] 

322 [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of tiXeovekteIv, namely, pera aupperpLac; (and 
compare dperpux; below) it is evident he understood the phrase ev 7iX£OV£ft& 139-, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. 
do, “with greediness.” But Meyer denies that the word 7tX£OV£fta ever means anything but “covetousness” in 
the New Test. So also Ellicott. — G.A.] 

323 [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of tiXeovekteIv, namely, pera aupperpLac; (and 
compare dperptoc; below) it is evident he understood the phrase ev 7TXeovEft& 139-, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. 
do, “with greediness.” But Meyer denies that the word TtXeovefta ever means anything but “covetousness” in 
the New Test. So also Ellicott. — G.A.] 

324 [From the word used by Chrysostom as the antithesis of 7iX£ov£KT£iv, namely, pera aupperpiac; (and 
compare ctpeTpux; below) it is evident he understood the phrase ev 7tXeoveft& 139-, as the Revisers of Eng. Ver. 
do, “with greediness.” But Meyer denies that the word TtXeovefta ever means anything but “covetousness” in 
the New Test. So also Ellicott. — G.A.] 


212 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


“To work all uncleanness,” saith he. 

Ye see how he strips them of all excuse by speaking of “working uncleanness.” They did 
not sin, he means, by making a false step, but they worked out these horrid deeds, and they 
made the thing a matter of study. “All uncleanness”; uncleanness is all adultery, fornication, 
unnatural lust, envy, every kind of profligacy and lasciviousness. 

Ver. 20, 21. “But ye did not so learn Christ,” he continues, “if so be that ye heard Him, 
and were taught in Him even as truth is in Jesus.” 

The expression, “If so be that ye heard Him,” is not that of one doubting, but of one 
even strongly affirming: as he also speaks elsewhere, “If so be that it is a righteous thing with 
God to recompense affliction to them that afflict you.” (2 Thess. i. 6.) That is to say, It was 
not for these purposes that “ye learned Christ.” 

Ver. 22. “That ye put away as concerning your former manner of life, the old man.” 
This then surely is to learn Christ, to live rightly; for he that lives wickedly knows not 
God, neither is known of Him; for hear what he saith elsewhere, “They profess that they 
know God, but by their works they deny Him.” (Tit. i. 16.) 

“As truth is in Jesus; that ye put away as concerning your former manner of life, the old 
man.” 

That is to say, It was not on these terms that thou enteredst into covenant. What is 
found among us is not vanity, but truth. As the doctrines are true, so is the life also. Sin is 
vanity and falsehood; but a right life is truth. For temperance is indeed truth, for it has a 
great end; whereas profligacy ends in nothing. 

“Which waxeth corrupt,” saith he, “after the lusts of deceit.” As his lusts became corrupt, 
so himself also. How then do his lusts become corrupt? By death all things are dissolved; 
for hear the Prophet, how he saith, “In that very day his thoughts perish.” (Ps. cxlvi. 4.) And 
not by death only, but by many things besides; for instance, beauty, at the advance of either 
disease or old age, withdraws and dies away, and suffers corruption. Bodily vigor again is 
destroyed by the same means; nor does luxury itself afford the same pleasure in old age, as 

in c 

is evident from the case of Barzillai: the history, no doubt, ye know. Or again, in another 

sense, lust corrupts and destroys the old man; for as wool is destroyed by the very same 
means by which it is produced, so likewise is the old man. For love of glory destroys him, 
and pleasures will often destroy him, and “lust” will utterly “deceive” him. For this is not 
really pleasure but bitterness and deceit, all pretense and outward show. The surface, indeed, 
of the things is bright, but the things themselves are only full of misery and extreme 


325 [And David said to Barzillai, “Come and I will sustain thee in Jerusalem.” And Barzillai said unto the 
king, “I am this day fourscore years old: can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more 
the voice of singing men and singing women? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord 
the king?” — 2 Sam. xix. 31-35. — G.A.] 


213 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


wretchedness, and loathsomeness, and utter poverty. Take off the mask, and lay bare the 
true face, and thou shalt see the cheat, for cheat it is, when that which is, appears not, and 
that which is not, is displayed. And it is thus that impositions are effected. 

The Apostle delineates for us four men. Of these I shall give an explanation. In this 
place he mentions two, speaking thus, “Putting away the old man, be ye renewed in the 
spirit of your mind, and put on the new man.” And in the Epistle to the Romans, two more, 
as where he saith, “But I see a different law in my members warring against the law of my 
mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 
vii. 23.) And these latter bear affinity to those former two, the “new man” to the “inner 
man,” and the “old man” to the “outer man.” However, three of these four were subject to 
corruption. Or rather there are three, the new man, the old, and this, man in his substance 

'l') r 7 

and nature. 

Ver. 23. “And that ye be renewed,” saith he, “in the spirit of your mind.” 

In order that no one may suppose that, whereas he speaks of old and new, he is introdu- 
cing a different person, observe his expression, “That ye be renewed.” To be renewed is, 
when the selfsame thing which has grown old is renewed, changed from one thing into the 
other. So that the subject indeed is the same, but the change is in that which is accidental. 
Just as the body indeed is the same, and the change in that which is accidental, so is it here. 
How then is the renewal to take place? “In the spirit of your mind,” saith he. Whosoever 
therefore has the Spirit, will perform no old deed, for the Spirit will not endure old deeds. 
“In the spirit,” saith he, “of your mind,” that is, in the spirit which is in your mind. 

Ver. 24. “And put on the new man.” 

Seest thou that the subject is one, but the clothing is twofold, that which is put off, and 
that which is put on? “The new man,” he continues, “which after God hath been created in 
righteousness and holiness of truth.” Now wherefore does he call virtue a man? And 
wherefore vice, a man? Because a man cannot be shown without acting; so that these things, 
no less than nature, show a man, whether he be good or evil. Now as to undress one’s self 
and to dress one’s self is easy, so may we see it is with virtue and vice. The young man is 
strong; wherefore let us also become strong for the performance of good actions. The young 


326 T£aaapa<; av0ptb7tou<; u-mcypacpEi. 

327 paXXov Si Tpelc; elol, Kaivoc; kcil TtaXaioc;, Kai ohroc; 6 ouaicb8r|c; kcil cpuaiKoc;. 

328 [Meyer takes a different view, and says: The Holy Spirit is never, in the New Test., designated in such a 
way that man appears as the subject of the Spirit (thus never: to 7tveupa uptov, and the like, or as here: to TtvEupa 
tou voo(; upu>v). In the second place, the Apostle is here putting forward the moral self-activity of the Christian 
life, and hence had no occasion to introduce the point: “Through the Holy Spirit.” Hence rcvEOpa here is the 
“human” spirit, the spirit by which your vouc; is governed. Otherwise Ellicott: Divine spirit united with the human; 
and so he understands Meyer, but incorrectly. See Ellicott and Meyer in loc. — G.A.] 


214 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


man has no wrinkle, therefore neither should we have. The young man wavers not, nor is 
he easily taken with diseases, therefore neither should we be. 

Observe here how he calls this realizing of virtue, this bringing of it into being from 
nothing, a “creation.” But what? was not that other former creation after God? No, in no- 
wise, but after the devil. He is the sole creator of sin. 

How is this? For man is created henceforth, not of water, nor of earth, but “in righteous- 
ness and holiness of truth.” What is this? He straightway created him, he means, to be a son: 
for this takes place from Baptism. This it is which is the reality, “in righteousness and holiness 
of truth.” There was of old a righteousness, there was likewise a holiness with the Jews. Yet 
was that righteousness not in truth, but in figure. For the being clean in body was a type of 
purity, not the truth of purity; was a type of righteousness, not the truth of righteousness. 

“In righteousness,” saith he, “and holiness,” which are “of truth.” 

And this expression is used with reference to falsehood; for many there are, who to them 
that are without, seem to be righteous, yet are false. Now by righteousness is meant universal 
virtue. For hearken to Christ, how He saith, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the 
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in nowise enter into the kingdom of 
heaven.” (Matt. v. 20.) And again, he is called righteous, who has no charge against him; for 
so even in courts of justice we say that that man is righteous, who has been unrighteously 
treated, and has not done unrighteously in return. If therefore we also before the terrible 
Tribunal shall be able to appear righteous one towards another, we may meet with some 
lovingkindness. Toward God indeed it is impossible we should appear so, whatever we may 
have to show. For everywhere He overcometh in what is righteous, as the Prophet also 
saith, “That Thou mightest prevail when Thou comest into judgment.” But if we violate not 
what is righteous towards each other, then shall we be righteous. If we shall be able to show 
that we have been treated unrighteously, then shall we be righteous. 

How does he say to them who are already clothed, “put on”? He is now speaking of that 
clothing which is from life and good works. Before, the clothing was from Baptism, whereas 
now it is from the daily life and from works; no longer “after the lusts of deceit,” but “after 
God.” But what means the word “holy”? It is that which is pure, that which is due; hence 
also we use the word of the last duty in the case of the departed, as much as to say, “I owe 
them nothing further, I have nothing else to answer for.” Thus it is usual for us to say, “I 
have acquitted myself of all obligations,” and the like, meaning, “I owe nothing more.” 

IN 

115 


329 [This passage in the Hebrew (Ps. li. 4.) reads, “And (that thou mayest) be clear when thou judgest.” In 
the Sept, it is: kcil viKtiorp; ev tu> KpivEoGai as, which is followed by Paul in Rom. iii. 4 (except viKiJaEic;, fut. ind., 
instead of aor. subj.). We have given here the rendering of the Rev. Ver. of Rom. iii. 4. — G.A.] 

330 d(pu)aitoadpr]v. 


215 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


Moral. Our part then is, never to put off the garment of righteousness, which also the 
Prophet calls, “the garment of salvation” (Isa. lxi. 10.), that so we may be made like unto 
God. For He indeed hath put on righteousness. This garment let us put on. Now the word, 
“put on,” plainly declares nothing else, than that we should never at all put it off. For hear 
the Prophet, where he saith, “He clothed himself also with cursing as with his garment, and 
it came into his inward parts.” (Ps. cix. 18.) And again, “Who coverest Thyself with light as 
with a garment.” (Ps. civ. 2.) And again, it is usual with us to speak concerning men, such 
an one has “put on” such an one. So then it is not for one day, nor for two, nor for three, 
but he would have us ever arrayed in virtue, and never stripped of this garment. For a man 
is not so disfigured when he is stripped of his clothing, as when he is stripped of his virtue. 
In the former case his fellow-servants behold his nakedness, in the latter his Lord and the 
Angels. If ever thou happen to see any one going out naked through the public square, tell 
me, art thou not distressed? When then thou goest about stripped of this garment, what 

o o 1 

shall we say? Seest not those beggars whom we are wont to call strollers, how they roam 
about, how we pity even them? And yet nevertheless they are without excuse. We do not 
excuse them when they have lost their clothes by gaming; and how then, if we lose this gar- 
ment, shall God pardon us? For whenever the devil sees a man stripped of his virtue, he 
straightway disguises and disfigures his face, and wounds him, and drives him to great 
straits. 

Let us strip ourselves of our riches, that we be not stripped of righteousness. The garb 
of wealth mars this garment. It is a robe of thorns. Thorns are of this nature; and the more 
closely they are wrapped around us, the more naked are we made. Lasciviousness strips us 
of this garment; for it is a fire, and the fire will consume this garment. Wealth is a moth; 
and as the moth eats through all things alike, and spares not even silken garments, so does 
this also. All these therefore let us put off, that we may become righteous, that we may “put 
on the new man.” Let us keep nothing old, nothing outward, nothing that is “corrupt.” 
Virtue is not toilsome, she is not difficult to attain. Dost thou not see them that are in the 
mountains? They forsake both houses, and wives, and children, and all preeminence, and 
shut themselves away from the world, and clothe themselves in sackcloth, and strew ashes 
beneath them; they wear collars hung about their necks, and have pent themselves up in a 


331 Xtbrayac;. The word occurs also in the Constit. Apost. viii. 32 [along with such words as (3X&1;, “dolt”; 
payot;, “sorcerer”; pavTu;, “soothsayer”; GqpemoSoc, “beast-charmer”; oxXcrytoyoc;, “mob-leader”; TOpLappaTa 
Ttoitov, “amulet-maker.” — G.A.]. Its derivation is somewhat uncertain. [Zonaras (Constantinople, 12 cent.), in 
his Lexicon, gives among other definitions, auXqTrp;, “flute-player”; so also Eustathius (Constantinople, d. 1 198), 
in his famous commentary on Homer, II. 2, 776, defines it, from the fact that Xtoroc sometimes means a “flute.” 
But this derivation is questioned. — G.A.] The persons denoted by it were wandering musicians or buffoons. 

216 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


•2 0-1 

narrow cell. Nor do they stop here, but torture themselves with fastings and continual 
hunger. Did I now enjoin you to do the like, would ye not all start away? Would ye not say, 
it is intolerable? But no, I say not that we must needs do anything like this: — I would fain 
indeed that it were so, still I lay down no law. What then? Enjoy thy baths, take care of thy 
body, and throw thyself freely into the world, and keep a household, have thy servants to 
wait on thee, and make free use of thy meats and drinks! But everywhere drive out excess, 
for that it is which causes sin, and the same thing, whatever it be, if it becomes excessive, 
becomes a sin; so that excess is nothing else than sin. For observe, when anger is excited 
above what is meet, then it rushes out into insult, then it commits every sort of injury; so 
does inordinate passion for beauty, for riches, for glory, or for anything else. And tell me 
not, that indeed, those of whom I spoke were strong; for many far weaker and richer, and 
more luxurious than thou art, have taken upon them that austere and rugged life. And why 
speak I of men? Damsels not yet twenty years old, who have spent their whole time in inner 
chambers, and in a delicate and effeminate mode of life, in inner chambers full of sweet 
ointments and perfumes, reclining on soft couches, themselves soft in their nature, and 
rendered yet more tender by their over indulgence, who all the day long have had no other 
business than to adorn themselves, to wear jewels, and to enjoy every luxury, who never 
waited on themselves, but had numerous handmaids standing beside them, who wore soft 
raiment softer than their skin, fine linen and delicate, who reveled continually in roses and 
such like sweet odors, — yea, these very ones, in a moment, seized with Christ’s flame, have 
put off all that indolence and even their very nature, have forgotten their delicateness and 
youth, and like so many noble wrestlers, have stripped themselves of that soft clothing, and 
rushed into the midst of the contest. And perhaps I shall appear to be telling things incredible, 
yet nevertheless are they true. These then, these very tender damsels, as I myself have heard, 
have brought themselves to such a degree of severe training, that they will wrap the coars 
est horsehair about their own naked bodies, and go with those tender soles unsandaled, and 
will he upon a bed of leaves: nay more, that they watch the greater part of the night, and 
that they take no heed of perfumes nor of any other of their old delights, but will even let 
their head, once so carefully dressed, go without special care, with the hair just plainly and 
simply bound up, so as not to fall into unseemliness. And their only meal is in the evening, 
a meal not even of herbs nor of bread, but of flour and beans and pulse and olives and figs. 
They spin without intermission, and labor far harder than their handmaids at home. What 
more? they will take upon them to wait upon women who are sick, carrying their beds, and 


332 [This reference to the Monks in the mountains (in the neighborhood of Antioch) is one of the indications 
that these Homilies on Ephesians were delivered while Chrysostom was still at Antioch, and before his elevation 
to the archbishopric of Constantinople. Compare also Horn. vi. on Ephesians. — G.A.] 


217 



Ephesians 4:17-19 


washing their feet. Nay, many of them even cook. So great is the power of the flame of Christ; 
so far does their zeal surpass their very nature. 

However, I demand nothing like this of you, seeing ye have a mind to be outstripped 
by women. Yet at least, if there be any tasks not too laborious, at least perform these: restrain 
the rude hand, and the incontinent eye. What is there, tell me, so hard, what so difficult? 
Do what is just and right, wrong no man, be ye poor or rich, shopkeepers or hired servants; 
for unrighteousness may extend even to the poor. Or see ye not how many broils these engage 
in, and turn all things upside down? Marry freely, and have children. Paul also gave charge 
to such, to such he wrote. Is that struggle I spoke of too great, and the rock too lofty, and 
its top too nigh unto Heaven, and art thou unable to attain to such an height? At least then 
lay hold on lesser things, and aim at those which are lower. Hast thou not courage to get 
rid of thine own riches? At least then forbear to seize on the things of others, and to do them 
wrong. Art thou unable to fast? At least then give not thyself to self-indulgence. Art thou 
unable to he upon abed of leaves? Still, prepare not for yourselves couches inlaid with silver; 
but use a couch and coverings formed not for display, but for refreshment; not couches of 
ivory. Make thyself small. Why fill thy vessel with overwhelming cargoes? If thou be lightly 
equipped, thou shalt have nothing to fear, no envy, no robbers, no hers in wait. For indeed 
thou art not so rich in money as thou art in cares. Thou aboundest not so much in posses- 
sions, as in anxieties and in perils, “which bring in many temptations and lusts.” ( 1 Tim. vi. 
9.) These things they endure, who desire to gain great possessions. I say not, minister unto 
the sick; yet, at least, bid thy servant do it. Seest thou then how that this is no toilsome task? 
No, for how can it be, when tender damsels surpass us by so great a distance? Let us be 
ashamed of ourselves, I entreat you; for in worldly matters, to be sure, we in no point yield 
to them, neither in wars, nor in games; but in the spiritual contest they get the advantage 
of us, and are the first to seize the prize, and soar higher, like so many eagles: whilst we, 

like jackdaws, are ever living in the steam and smoke; for truly is it the business of jackdaws, 
and of greedy dogs, to be setting one’s thoughts upon caterers and cooks. Hearken about 
the women of old; they were great characters, great women and admirable; such were Sarah, 
Rebekah, Rachel, Deborah, and Hannah; and such there were also in the days of Christ. Yet 
did they in no case outstrip the men, but occupied the second rank. But now it is the very 
contrary; women outstrip and eclipse us. How contemptible! What a shame is this! We hold 
the place of the head, and are surpassed by the body. We are ordained to rule over them; 
not merely that we may rule, but that we may rule in goodness also; for he that ruleth, ought 
especially to rule in this respect, by excelling in virtue; whereas if he is surpassed, he is no 


333 [This passage is so like a passage in one of Pindar’s Nemean odes that some have thought Chrysostom 
must have had that in mind. Pind. Nein. 3. 138: eon S’ ciletoc ii)KU(; ev reravoic;, oc, £Xa|3£v a!\|/a, tr|X60£ 
pETapaiopEvoc, dacpoivov aypav rtoaiv- KpayETcn Se koXolol TarcEivd VEgovTai. — G.A.] 


218 


Ephesians 4:17-19 


•3 OA 

longer ruler. Perceive ye how great is the power of Christ’s coming? how He dissolved 
the curse? For indeed there are more virgins than before among women, there is more 
modesty in those virgins, and there are more widows. No woman would lightly utter so 
much as an unseemly word. Wherefore then, tell me, dost thou use filthy speech? For tell 
me not that they were virgins in despondency or despair. 

The sex is fond of ornament, and it has this failing. Yet even in this you husbands surpass 

them, who pride yourselves even upon them, as your own proper ornament; for I do not 
think that the wife is so ostentatious of her own jewels, as the husband is of those of his wife. 
He is not so proud of his own golden girdle, as he is of his wife’s wearing jewels of gold. So 
that even of this you are the causes, who light the spark and kindle up the flame. But what 
is more, it is not so great a sin in a woman as in a man. Thou art ordained to regulate her; 
in every way thou claimest to have the preeminence. Show her then in this also, that thou 
takest no interest in this costliness of hers, by thine own apparel. It is more suitable for a 
woman to adorn herself, than for a man. If then thou escape not the temptation, how shall 
she escape it? They have moreover their share of vainglory, but this is common to them 
with men. They are in a measure passionate, and this again is common to them with men. 
But as to those things wherein they excel, these are no longer common to them with men; 
their sanctity, I mean, their fervency, their devotion, their love towards Christ. Wherefore 

then, one may say, did Paul exclude them from the teacher’s seat? And here again is a proof 
how great a distance they were from the men, and that the women of those days were great. 
For, tell me, while Paul was teaching, or Peter, or those saints of old, had it been right that 
a woman should intrude into the office? Whereas we have gone on till we have come so 
debased, that it is worthy of question, why women are not teachers. So truly have we come 
to the same weakness as they. These things I have said not from any desire to elate them, 
but to shame ourselves, to chastise, and to admonish us, that so we may resume the authority 
that belongs to us, not inasmuch as we are greater in size, but because of our foresight, our 
protection of them, and our virtue. For thus shall the body also be in the order which befits 
it, when it has the best head to rule. And God grant that all, both wives and husbands, may 
live according to His good pleasure, that we may all in that terrible day be counted worthy 
to enjoy the lovingkindness of our Master, and to attain those good things which are 
promised in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, 
be glory, might, and honor, now and forever and ever. Amen. 


334 [Compare Carlyle’s lecture on Cromwell and Napoleon in Heroes and Hero-Worship. — G.A.] 


219 



Ephesians 4:25-27 


Homily XIV. 

Ephesians iv. 25-27 

“Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor; for we are 
members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your 
wrath: neither give place to the devil.” 

Having spoken of the “old man” generally, he next draws him also in detail; for this 
kind of teaching is more easily learned when we learn by particulars. And what saith he? 
“Wherefore, putting away falsehood.” What sort of falsehood? Idols does he mean? Surely 
not; not indeed but that they are falsehood also. However, he is not now speaking of them, 
because these persons had nothing to do with them; but he is speaking of that which passes 
between one man and another, meaning that which is deceitful and false. “Speak ye truth, 
each one,” saith he, “with his neighbor”; then what is more touching to the conscience 
still, “because we are members one of another.” Let no man deceive his neighbor. As the 
Psalmist says here and there; “With flattering lip and with a double heart do they speak.” 
(Ps. xii. 2.) For there is nothing, no, nothing so productive of enmity as deceit and guile. 

Observe how everywhere he shames them by this similitude of the body. Let not the 
eye, saith he, lie to the foot, nor the foot to the eye. For example, if there shall be a deep pit, 
and then by having reeds laid across upon the mouth of it upon the earth, and yet concealed 
under earth, it shall by its appearance furnish to the eye an expectation of solid ground, will 
not the eye use the foot, and discover whether it yields and is hollow underneath, or 
whether it is firm and resists? Will the foot tell a lie, and not report the truth as it is? And 

what again? If the eye were to spy a serpent or a wild beast, will it lie to the foot? Will it not 
at once inform it, and the foot thus informed by it refrain from going on? And what again, 
when neither the foot nor the eye shall know how to distinguish, but all shall depend upon 
the smelling, as, for example, whether a drug be deadly or not; will the smelling lie to the 
mouth? And why not? Because it will be destroying itself also. But it tells the truth as it ap- 
pears to itself. And what again? Will the tongue lie to the stomach? Does it not, when a thing 
is bitter, reject it, and, if it is sweet, pass it on? Observe ministration, and interchange of 
service; observe a provident care arising from truth, and, as one might say, spontaneously 


335 [“And the first exhortation here was suggested by the immediately preceding dXf|0£ia. The figurative 
form of the precept also (cmoGEpevoi, ‘putting off) is an echo from what precedes.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

336 [“‘Members’ one of another, and to ‘lie’ to one another, — how contradictory!” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

337 [elkel, Field’s emendation for the reading £LKf| of the mss. He cites the phrase to eIkov kcil pr) avriTtmouv 
from Plato, Cratylus, 420 D. — G.A.] 

338 dVTLTtmEL 


220 


Ephesians 4:25-27 


from the heart. So surely should it be with us also; let us not lie, since we are “members one 
of another.” This is a sure token of friendship; whereas the contrary is of enmity. What then, 
thou wilt ask, if a man shall use treachery against thee? Hearken to the truth. If he use 
treachery, he is not a member; whereas he saith, “he not towards the members.” 

“Be ye angry, and sin not.” 

Observe his wisdom. He both speaks to prevent our sinning, and, if we do not listen, 
still does not forsake us; for his fatherly compassion does not desert him. For just as the 
physician prescribes to the sick what he must do, and if he does not submit to it, still does 
not treat him with contempt, but proceeding to add what advice he can by persuasion, again 
goes on with the cure; so also does Paul. For he indeed who does otherwise, aims only at 
reputation, and is annoyed at being disregarded; whereas he who on all occasions aims at 
the recovery of the patient, has this single object in view, how he may restore the patient, 
and raise him up again. This then is what Paul is doing. He has said, “Lie not.” Yet if ever 
lying should produce anger, he goes on again to cure this also. For what saith he? “Be ye 
angry, and sin not.” It were good indeed never to be angry. Yet if ever any one should fall 
into passion, still let him not fall into so great a degree. “For let not the sun,” saith he, “go 
down upon your wrath.” Wouldest thou have thy fill of anger? One hour, or two, or three, 
is enough for thee; let not the sun depart, and leave you both at enmity. It was of God’s 
goodness that he rose: let him not depart, having shone on unworthy men. For if the Lord 
of His great goodness sent him, and hath Himself forgiven thee thy sins, and yet thou forgivest 
not thy neighbor, look, how great an evil is this! And there is yet another besides this. The 
blessed Paul dreads the night , 340 lest overtaking in solitude him that was wronged, still 
burning with anger, it should again kindle up the fire. For as long as there are many things 
in the daytime to banish it, thou art free to indulge it; but as soon as ever the evening comes 
on, be reconciled, extinguish the evil whilst it is yet fresh; for should night overtake it, the 


339 [This seems to be a correct account of the new connection, but the exact force of the first imperative it is 
not easy to determine. Winer (Grammar of N.T., Thayer’s translation, pp. 311, 312) takes it permissively: Be 
angry (I give you leave), but do not sin. He cites in proof Jer. x. 24, which, however, can be otherwise explained, 
namely, as the imperative of request, used in prayer. Compare the Lord’s prayer. Meyer says it does not seem 
logical to connect two imperatives by Kai unless they are taken in the same sense. If the first imperative were 
permissive, the combination would be exceptive, and aXXa, povov or TtXqv (Jer. x. 24.) would be required. Both 
imperatives then are jussive, and there is an anger which a man not only may, but ought, to feel. So Ellicott and 
Riddle. — G.A.] 

340 [“There does not appear any allusion to the possible effect of night upon anger, as Chrysostom here, and 
Theophylact also.” — Ellicott. The parallel Pythagorean custom is cited by Ellicott (Hammond and Wetstein): 
“If they were ever carried away by anger into railing, before the setting of the sun they gave the right hand to 
each other, embraced each other, and were reconciled.” — G.A.] 


221 


Ephesians 4:25-27 


morrow will not avail to extinguish the further evil which will have been collected in the 
night. Nay, even though thou shouldest cut off the greater portion, and yet not be able to 
cut off the whole, it will again supply from what is left for the following night, to make the 
blaze more violent. And just as, should the sun be unable by the heat of the day to soften 
and disperse that part of the air which has been during the night condensed into cloud, it 
affords material for a tempest, night overtaking the remainder, and feeding it again with 
fresh vapors: so also is it in the case of anger. 

“Neither give place to the devil.” 

So then to be at war with one another, is “to give place to the devil”; for, whereas we 
had need to be all in close array, and to make our stand against him, we have relaxed our 
enmity against him, and are giving the signal for turning against each other; for never has 
the devil such place as in our enmities. 341 Numberless are the evils thence produced. And 
as stones in a building, so long as they are closely fitted together and leave no interstice, will 
stand firm, while if there is but a single needle’s passage through, or a crevice no broader 
than a hair, this destroys and ruins all; so is it with the devil. So long indeed as we are closely 
set and compacted together, he cannot introduce one of his wiles; but when he causes us to 
relax a little, he rushes in like a torrent. In every case he needs only a beginning, and this is 
the thing which it is difficult to accomplish; but this done, he makes room on all sides for 
himself. For henceforth he opens the ear to slanders, and they who speak lies are the more 
trusted: they have enmity which plays the advocate, not truth which judges justly. And as, 
where friendship is, even those evils which are true appear false, so where there is enmity, 
even the false appear true. There is a different mind, a different tribunal, which does not 
hear fairly, but with great bias and partiality. As, in a balance, if lead is cast into the scale, it 
will drag down the whole; so is it also here, only that the weight of enmity is far heavier than 
any lead. Wherefore, let us, I beseech you, do all we can to extinguish our enmities before 
the going down of the sun. For if you fail to master it on the very first day, both on the fol- 
lowing, and oftentimes even for a year, you will be protracting it, and the enmity will 
thenceforward augment itself, and require nothing to aid it. For by causing us to suspect 
that words spoken in one sense were meant in another, and gestures also, and everything, 
it infuriates and exasperates us, and makes us more distempered than madmen, not enduring 
either to utter a name, or to hear it, but saying everything in invective and abuse. How then 
are we to allay this passion? How shall we extinguish the flame? By reflecting on our own 
sins, and how much we have to answer for to God; by reflecting that we are wreaking ven- 


341 [This reference to church life is not implied in the context. He follows up what he said before by saying, 
Give not to the devil opportunity for being active by an angry state of mind. — G.A.] 

342 [Compare Goethe: Die Freundschaft ist gerecht. Sie kann allein, Den ganzen Umfang seines Werths 
erkennen. — G.A.] 


222 



Ephesians 4:25-27 


geance, not on an enemy, but on ourselves; by reflecting that we are delighting the devil, 
that we are strengthening our enemy, our real enemy, and that for him we are doing wrong 
to our own members. Wouldest thou be revengeful and be at enmity? Be at enmity, but be 
so with the devil, and not with a member of thine own. For this purpose it is that God hath 
armed us with anger, not that we should thrust the sword against our own bodies, but that 

'lA'X 

we should baptize the whole blade in the devil’s breast. There bury the sword up to the 
hilt; yea, if thou wilt, hilt and all, and never draw it out again, but add yet another and an- 
other. And this actually comes to pass when we are merciful to those of our own spiritual 
family and peaceably disposed one towards another. Perish money, perish glory and repu- 
tation; mine own member is dearer to me than they all. Thus let us say to ourselves; let us 
not do violence to our own nature to gain wealth, to obtain glory. 

Ver. 28. “Let him that stole,” 344 saith he, “steal no more.” 

Seest thou what are the members of the old man? Falsehood, revenge, theft. Why said 
he not, “Let him that stole” be punished, be tortured, be racked; but, “let him steal no more”? 
“But rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have 
whereof to give to him that hath need.” 

Where are they which are called pure; 345 they that are full of all defilement, and yet dare 
to give themselves a name like this? For it is possible, very possible, to put off the reproach, 

343 (3aTtTi(co|i£v Tr)v payaipav to tou 6ia|36Xou crrfjGoc;. 

344 [‘“The stealer (6k\£7itu)v) is to steal no more.’ The present participle does not stand for the past, but is 
used substantively (like o 07 i£Lptov, Matt. xiii. 3.). As there were in the apostolic church ‘fornicators’ (1 Cor. v. 
1.), so there were also ‘stealers,’ and the attempts to tone down the word are arbitrary and superfluous.” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

345 KaGapoi. The Cathari, or pure, was the title which the Novatians indirectly assumed, by maintaining that 
none were in God’s favor but those who had not sinned after baptism, or who were pure as baptism made them, 
and by separating from the Church for granting absolution to penitents. The schism originated at Rome in the 
middle of the third century. Accordingly St. Chrysostom in the text says, that whereas all men need pardon 
continually, they who affected to be clean or pure without securing it were, as being without it, of all men most 
unclean. [And he strongly asserts, as against the Novatians, that it is possible to put away the guilt of sins com- 
mitted after baptism, by ceasing from the practice of them and working that which is good. This view, however, 
differs from the Protestant view, that the putting away the guilt of sin is at first and always through God’s mercy 
and grace in Jesus Christ. — G.A.] In the sixth of eleven new Homilies edited by the Benedictines, t. xii. p. 355, 
he says that we may as well talk of the sea being clear of waves as any soul pure from daily sins, though not from 
transgressing express commandment, yet from vainglory, willfulness, impure thoughts, coveting, lying, resentment, 
envy, &c., and he mentions as means of washing away sins, coming to Church, grieving for them, confessing 
them, doing alms, praying, helping the injured, and forgiving injuries. “Let us provide ourselves with these,” he 
proceeds, “every day, washing, wiping ourselves clean, and withal confessing ourselves unprofitable,” unlike the 


223 


Ephesians 4:25-27 


not only by ceasing from the sin, but by working some good thing also. Perceive ye how we 
ought to get quit of the sin? “They stole.” This is the sin. “They steal no more.” This is not 
to do away the sin. But how shall they? If they labor, and charitably communicate to others, 
thus will they do away the sin. He does not simply desire that we should work, but so “work” 
as to “labor,” so as that we may “communicate” to others. For the thief indeed works, but 
it is that which is evil. 

Ver. 29. “Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth.” 

What is “corrupt speech”? That which is said elsewhere to be also “idle, backbiting, 
filthy communication, jesting, foolish talking.” See ye how he is cutting up the very roots 
of anger? Lying, theft, unseasonable conversation. The words, however, “Let him steal no 
more,” he does not say so much excusing them, as to pacify the injured parties, and to re- 
commend them to be content, if they never suffer the like again. And well too does he give 
advice concerning conversation; 346 inasmuch as we shall pay the penalty, not for our deeds 
only, but also for our words. 

“But such as is good,” he proceeds, “for edifying, as the need may be, that it may give 
grace to them that hear.” 

That is to say, What edifies thy neighbor, that only speak, not a word more. For to this 
end God gave thee a mouth and a tongue, that thou mightest give thanks to Him, that thou 
mightest build up thy neighbor. So that if thou destroy that building, better were it to be 
silent, and never to speak at all. For indeed the hands of the workmen, if instead of raising 
the walls, they should learn to pull them down, would justly deserve to be cut off. For so 
also saith the Psalmist; “The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips.” (Ps. xii. 3.) The mouth, — this 
is the cause of all evil; or rather not the mouth, but they that make an evil use of it. From 
thence proceed insults, revilings, blasphemies, incentives to lusts, murders, adulteries, thefts, 
all have their origin from this. And how, you will say, do murders? Because from insult thou 
wilt go on to anger, from anger to blows, from blows to murder. And how, again, adultery? 
“Such a woman,” one will say, “loves thee, she said something nice about thee.” This at once 
unstrings thy firmness, and thus are thy passions kindled within thee. 

Therefore Paul said, “such as is good.” Since then there is so vast a flow of words, he 
with good reason speaks indefinitely, charging us to use expressions of that kind, and giving 
us a pattern of communication. What then is this? By saying, “for edifying,” either he means 
this, that he who hears thee maybe grateful to thee: as, for instance, a brother has committed 


Pharisee. “Thus ordering ourselves, we shall be able to find mercy and pardon in that fearful day, &c.” This 
homily was delivered at Constantinople. [On the Novatians, see Schaff, Church History , II., pp. 196, 197. — G.A.] 
346 [The clause, “And well does he give instruction concerning our words also” (kciXux; Si Kai rapi Xoytov 
6i5daK£i), is omitted in the text of Field, but is well attested (three mss., Sav. text), and almost indispensable to 
the sense of the passage. Compare note, p. 82, on Field’s text in general. — G.A.] 


224 


Ephesians 4:25-27 


fornication; do not make a display of the offense, nor revel in it; thou wilt be doing no good 
to him that hears thee; rather, it is likely, thou wilt hurt him, by giving him a stimulus. 
Whereas, advise him what to do, and thou art conferring on him a great obligation. Discipline 
him how to keep silence, teach him to revile no man, and thou hast taught him his best lesson, 
thou wilt have conferred upon him the highest obligation. Discourse with him on contrition, 
on piety, on almsgiving; all these things will soften his soul, for all these things he will own 
his obligation. Whereas by exciting his laughter, or by filthy communication, thou wilt 
rather be inflaming him. Applaud the wickedness, and thou wilt overturn and ruin him. 

Or else he means thus, “that it may make them, the hearers, full of grace.” For as 
sweet ointment gives grace to them that partake of it, so also does good speech. Hence it 
was moreover that one said, “Thy name is as ointment poured forth.” (Cant. i. 3.) It caused 
them to exhale that sweet perfume. Thou seest that what he continually recommends, he is 
saying now also, charging every one according to his several ability to edify his neighbors. 
Thou then that givest such advice to others, how much more to thyself! 

Ver. 30. “And grieve not,” he adds, “the Holy Spirit of God.” 

A matter this more terrible and startling, as he also says in the Epistle to the Thessaloni- 
ans; for there too he uses an expression of this sort. “He that rejecteth, rejecteth not man, 
but God.” (1 Thess. iv. 8.) So also here. If thou utter a reproachful word, if thou strike thy 
brother, thou art not striking him, thou art “grieving the Holy Spirit.” And then is added 
further the benefit bestowed, in order to heighten the rebuke. 

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit,” saith He, “in whom ye were sealed unto the day of 
redemption.” 

He it is who marks us as a royal flock; He, who separates us from all former things; He, 
who suffers us not to lie amongst them that are exposed to the wrath of God, — and dost 
thou grieve Him? Look how startling are his words there; “For he that rejecteth,” saith he, 
“rejecteth not man, but God:” and how cutting they are here, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit,” 
saith he, “in whom ye were sealed.” 

Moral. Let this seal then abide upon thy mouth, and never destroy the impression. 
A spiritual mouth never utters a thing of the kind. Say not, “ft is nothing, if I do utter an 
unseemly word, if I do insult such an one.” For this very reason is it a great evil, because it 
seems to be nothing. For things which seem to be nothing are thus easily thought lightly of; 
and those which are thought lightly of go on increasing; and those which go on increasing 
become incurable. 


347 [“It means ‘that it may impart a blessing, bestow a benefit, on the hearers.”’ — Meyer and Ellicott. — G.A.] 

348 [This is probably a misapplication of Paul’s words here. The sealing here mentioned is quite the same as 
at chap. i. 13. — G.A.] 


225 


Ephesians 4:25-27 


Thou hast a spiritual mouth. Think what words thou didst utter immediately upon being 
born, 349 — what words are worthy of thy mouth. Thou callest God, “Father,” and dost thou 
straightway revile thy brother? Think, whence is it thou callest God, “Father”? Is it from 
nature? No, thou couldest never say so. Is it from thy goodness? No, nor is it thus. But 
whence then is it? It is from pure lovingkindness, from tenderness, from His great mercy. 
Whenever then thou callest God, “Father,” consider not only this, that by reviling thou art 
committing things unworthy of that, thy high birth, but also that it is of lovingkindness that 
thou hast that high birth. Disgrace it not then, after receiving it from pure lovingkindness, 
by showing cruelty towards thy brethren. Dost thou call God “Father,” and yet revile? No, 
these are not the works of the Son of God. These are very far from Him. The work of the 
Son of God was to forgive His enemies, to pray for them that crucified Him, to shed His 
blood for them that hated Him. These are works worthy of the Son of God, to make His 
enemies, — the ungrateful, the dishonest, the reckless, the treacherous, — to make these 
brethren and heirs: not to treat them that are become brethren with ignominy like slaves. 

Think what words thy mouth uttered, — of what table these words are worthy. Think 
what thy mouth touches, what it tastes, of what manner of food it partakes! Dost thou deem 
thyself to be doing nothing grievous in railing at thy brother? How then dost thou call him 
brother? And yet if he be not a brother, how sayest thou, “Our Father”? For the word “Our” 
is indicative of many persons. Think with whom thou standest at the time of the mysteries! 
With the Cherubim, with the Seraphim! The Seraphim revile not: no, their mouth fulfills 

or i 

this one only duty, to sing the Hymn of praise, to glorify God. And how then shalt thou 

be able to say with them, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” if thou use thy mouth for reviling? T ell me, 
I pray. Suppose there were a royal vessel, and that always full of royal dainties, and set apart 


349 [evvor|aov tiva euGeqx; e^Ge^io p& 208-para texQslc, k.t.X. This evidently refers to baptism and the 
services and words used in connection therewith. Bingham says, “The catechumens did not learn the creed and 
the Lord’s prayer till immediately before baptism.” And Chrysostom says, “An unbaptized person cannot yet 
call God his Father.” St. Augustine also says in one of his homilies, “Now learn the Lord’s prayer, which ye must 
repeat eight days hence, when ye are to be baptized.” So they received it (that is, the Lord’s prayer) only on Sat- 
urday before Palm Sunday, in order to repeat it on Saturday before Easter, which was the day of their baptism. 
Antiquities , Bk. x. ch. v. sec. 9. — G.A.] 

350 [This paragraph has reference to the celebration of the Eucharist, concerning which, see Chrysostom’s 
Horn, xviii. on 2 Cor. (viii. 24). — G.A.] 

351 cryidGiv. 

352 dyioc, ayioc, dyioc. 


226 



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for that purpose, and then that any one of the servants were to take and use it for holding 
dung. Would he ever venture again, after it had been filled with dung, to store it away with 
those other vessels, set apart for those other uses? Surely not. Now railing is like this, reviling 
is like this. “Our Father!” But what? is this all? Hear also the words, which follow, “which 
art in Heaven.” The moment thou sayest, “Our Father, which art in Heaven,” the word raises 
thee up, it gives wings to thy mind, it points out to thee that thou hast a Father in Heaven. 
Do then nothing, speak nothing of things upon earth. He hath set thee amongst that host 
above, He hath numbered thee with that heavenly choir. Why dost thou drag thyself down? 
Thou art standing beside the royal throne, and thou revilest? Art thou not afraid lest the 
king should deem it an outrage? Why, if a servant, even with us, beats his fellow- servant or 
assaults him, even though he do it justly, yet we at once rebuke him, and deem the act an 
outrage; and yet dost thou, who art standing with the Cherubim beside the king’s throne, 
revile thy brother? Seest thou not these holy vessels? Are they not used continually for only 
one purpose? Does any one ever venture to use them for any other? Yet art thou holier than 
these vessels, yea, far holier. Why then defile, why contaminate thyself? Standest thou in 
Heaven, and dost thou revile? Hast thou thy citizenship with Angels, and dost thou revile? 
Art thou counted worthy the Lord’s kiss, and dost thou revile? Hath God graced thy mouth 
with so many and great things, with hymns angelic, with food, not angelic, no, but more 
than angelic, with His own kiss, with His own embrace, and dost thou revile? Oh, no, I im- 
plore thee. Vast are the evils of which this is the source; far be it from a Christian soul. Do 
I not convince thee as I am speaking, do I not shame thee? Then does it now become my 
duty to alarm you. For hear what Christ saith: “Whosoever shall say to his brother, Thou 
fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.” (Matt. v. 22.) Now if that which is lightest of all 
leads to hell, of what shall not he be worthy, who utters presumptuous words? Let us discip- 
line our mouth to silence. Great is the advantage from this, great the mischief from ill lan- 
guage. We must not spend our riches here. Let us put door and bolt upon them. Let us devour 
ourselves alive if ever a vexatious word slip out of our mouth. Let us entreat God, let us entreat 
him whom we have reviled. Let us not think it beneath us to do so. It is ourselves we have 
wounded, not him. Let us apply the remedy, prayer, and reconciliation with him whom we 
have reviled. If in our words we are to take such forethought, much more let us impose laws 
upon ourselves in our deeds. Yea, and if we have friends, whoever they may be, and they 
should speak evil to any man or revile him, demand of them and exact satisfaction. Let us 
by all means learn that such conduct is even sin; for if we learn this, we shall soon depart 
from it. 

Now the God of peace keep both your mind and your tongue, and fence you with a sure 
fence, even His fear, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to the Father, together with 
the Holy Spirit, be glory forever. Amen. 


227 


Ephesians 4.31 


Homily XV. 

Ephesians iv. 31 

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with 

all malice. ” 

As bees will never settle down in an unclean vessel, — and this is the reason why those 

who are skilled in these matters sprinkle the spot with perfumes, and scented ointments, 
and sweet odors; and the wicker baskets also, in which they will have to settle as soon as 
they come out of the hives they sprinkle with fragrant wines, and all other sweets, that there 
may be no noisome smell to annoy them, and drive them away again, — so in truth is it also 
with the Holy Spirit. Our soul is a sort of vessel or basket, capable of receiving the swarms 
of spiritual gifts; but if there shall be within it gall, and “bitterness, and wrath,” the swarms 
will fly away. Hence this blessed and wise husbandman well and thoroughly cleanses our 
vessels, withholding neither knife nor any other instrument of iron, and invites us to this 
spiritual swarm; and as he gathers it, he cleanses us with prayers, and labors, and all the rest. 
Mark then how he cleanses out our heart. He has banished lying, he has banished anger. 
Now, again, he is pointing out how that evil may be yet more entirely eradicated; if we be 
not, saith he, “bitter” in spirit. For it is as is wont to happen with our bile, if there chance to 
be but little of it, there will be but little disturbance if the receptacle should burst: but if ever 
the strength and acridness of this quality becomes excessive, the vessel which before held 
it, containing it no longer, is as if it were eaten through by a scorching fire, and it is no longer 
able to hold it and contain it within its appointed bounds, but, rent asunder by its intense 
sharpness, it lets it escape and injure the whole body. And it is like some very fierce and 
frightful wild beast, that has been brought into a city; as long as it is confined in the cages 
made for it, however it may rage, however it may roar, it will be unable to do harm to any 
one; but if it is overcome by rage, and breaks through the intervening bars, and is able to 
leap out, it fills the city with all sorts of confusion and disturbance, and puts everybody to 
flight. Such indeed is the nature also of bile. As long as it is kept within its proper limits, it 
will do us no great mischief; but as soon as ever the membrane that incloses it bursts, and 


353 [Chrysostom seems to have observed everything, and he had the “homiletical habit,” as Dr. Shedd calls 
it (Horn. p. 108), in gathering material for illustration. What has been said of a great modern preacher, may be 
said of Chrysostom: “He watched ships and sailors; he acquainted himself with the customs, good and bad, of 
commercial life; he curiously inspected a great variety of mechanical processes; he closely observed agricultural 
operations, and the various phases of rural life; he constantly saw and heard what occurred in his own home 
and other homes; and always and everywhere he asked himself, What is this like? what will this illustrate?” Dr. 
Broadus, in Preparation and Delivery of Sermons. — G.A.] 


228 


Ephesians 4.31 


there is nothing to hinder its being at once dispersed over the whole system, then, I say, at 
that moment, though it be so very trifling in quantity , 354 yet by reason of the inordinate 
strength of its quality it taints all the other elements of our nature with its own peculiar 
virulence. For finding the blood, for instance, near to it, alike in place and in quality, and 
rendering the heat which is in that blood more acrid, and everything else in fact which is 
near it; passing from its just temperature it overflows its bounds, turns all into gall, and 
therewith at once attacks likewise the other parts of the body; and thus infusing into all its 
own poisonous quality, it renders the man speechless, and causes him to expire, expelling 
life. Now, why have I stated all these things with such minuteness? It is in order that, under- 
standing from this bitterness which is of the body the intolerable evil of that bitterness which 
is of the soul, and how entirely it destroys first of all the very soul that engenders it, making 
everything bitter, we may escape experience of it. For as the one inflames the whole consti- 
tution, so does the other the thoughts, and carries away its captive to the abyss of hell. In 
order then that by carefully examining these matters we may escape this evil, and bridle the 
monster, or rather utterly root it out, let us hearken to what Paul saith, “Let all bitterness 
be” (not destroyed, but) “put away” from you. For what need have I of trouble to restrain 
it, what necessity is there to keep watch on a monster, when it is in my power to expel him 
from my soul, to remove him and drive him out, as it were, into banishment? Let us hearken 
then to Paul when he saith, “Let all bitterness be put away from you.” But, ah, the perversity 
that possesses us! Though we ought to do everything to effect this, yet are there some so 
truly senseless as to congratulate themselves upon this evil, and to pride themselves upon 
it, and to glory in it, and who are envied by others. “Such a one,” say they, “is a bitter man, 
he is a scorpion, a serpent, a viper.” They look upon him as one to be feared. But wherefore, 
good man, dost thou fear the bitter person? “I fear,” you say, “lest he injure me, lest he destroy 
me; I am not proof against his malice, I am afraid lest he should take me who am a simple 
man, and unable to foresee any of his schemes, and throw me into his snares, and entangle 
us in the toils which he has set to deceive us.” Now I cannot but smile. And why forsooth? 
Because these are the arguments of children, who fear things which are not to be feared. 
Surely there is nothing we ought so to despise, nothing we ought so to laugh to scorn, as a 

ore 

bitter and malicious man. For there is nothing so powerless as bitterness. It makes men 
fools and senseless. 


354 [This seems to be in direct contradiction to what is said a few lines above, to wit, “If there chance to be 
but little of it, there will be but little disturbance if the receptacle should burst.” The text in the former passage 
is in great uncertainty, however, and confusion. Field calls it a locus conclamatus. Perhaps, if the true text of that 
passage could be recovered, it would not be in conflict with the passage here. — G.A.] 

355 [Compare Prov. xxv. 28. — G.A.] 


229 


Ephesians 4.31 


Do ye not see that malice is blind? Have ye never heard, that he that diggeth a pit for 
his neighbors, diggeth it for himself? How, it may be said, ought we not to fear a soul full 
of tumult? If indeed we are to fear the bitter in the same way as we fear evil spirits, and fools 
and madmen, (for they indeed do everything at random,) I grant it myself; but if we are to 
fear them as men skillful in the conduct of affairs, that never. For nothing is so necessary 
for the proper conduct of affairs as prudence; and there is no greater hindrance to prudence 
than wickedness, and malice, and hollowness. Look at bilious persons, how unsightly they 
are, with all their bloom withered away. How weak they are, and puny, and unfit for anything. 
So also are souls of this nature. What else is wickedness, but a jaundice of the soul? 
Wickedness then has no strength in it, indeed it has not. Have ye a mind that I again make 
what I am saying plain to you by an instance, by setting before you the portraits of a 
treacherous and a guileless man? Absalom was a treacherous man, and “stole all men’s 
hearts.” (2 Sam. xv. 6.) And observe how great was his treachery. “He went about,” it saith, 

oc/r 

“and said, ‘Hast thou no judgment?’” wishing to conciliate every one to himself. But 
David was guileless. What then? Look at the end of them both, look, how full of utter madness 
was the former! For inasmuch as he looked solely to the hurt of his father, in all other things 
he was blinded. But not so David. For “he that walketh uprightly, walketh surely” (Prov. x. 
9.); and reasonably; he is one that manages nothing over-subtilely, the man who devises no 
evil. Let us listen then to the blessed Paul, and let us pity, yea, let us weep for the bitter- 
minded, and let us practice every method, let us do everything to extirpate this vice from 
their souls. For how is it not absurd, that when there is bile within us (though that indeed 
is a useful element, for without bile a man cannot possibly exist, that bile, I mean, which is 
an element of his nature,) how then, I say, is it not absurd that we should do all we can to 
get rid of this, though we are so highly benefited by it; and yet that we should do nothing, 
nor take any pains, to get rid of that which is in the soul, though it is in no case beneficial, 
but even in the highest degree injurious. He that thinketh that he is “wise among you,” saith 
he, “let him become a fool, that he may become wise.” (1 Cor. iii. 18.) Hearken too again to 
what Luke saith, “They did take their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising 
God, and having favor with all the people.” (Acts ii. 46, 47.) Why, do we not see even now 
that the simple and guileless enjoy the common esteem of all? No one envies such an one 
when he is in prosperity, no one tramples upon him when he is in adversity, but all rejoice 
with him when he does well, and grieve with him in misfortune. Whereas whenever a bitter 
man fares prosperously, one and all lament it, as though some evil thing happened; but if 
he is unfortunate, one and all rejoice. Let us then pity them, for they have common enemies 
all over the world. Jacob was a guileless man, yet he overcame the treacherous Esau. “For 


356 [|if] eon ooi Kpiaic;; but Sept. (2 Sam. xv. 3.) has octKoutov ouk eotl ool raxpa tou paaiXstoc;, which is well 

rendered by the Rev. Ver., “But there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.” — G.A.] 


230 


Ephesians 4.31 


into a malicious soul wisdom shall not enter.” (Wisd. i. 4.) “Let all bitterness be put away 
from you.” Let not even a remnant remain, for it will be sure, if stirred, as if from a smoul- 
dering brand, to turn all within to an entire blaze. Let us then distinctly understand what 
this bitterness is. Take, for example, the hollow-hearted man, the crafty, the man who is on 
the watch to do mischief, the man of evil suspicion. From him then “wrath” and “anger” 
are ever produced; for it is not possible for a soul like this to be in tranquillity, but the very 
root of “anger” and “wrath” is “bitterness.” The man of this character is both sullen, and 
never unbends his soul; he is always moody, always gloomy. For as I was saying, they 
themselves are the first to reap the fruit of their own evil ways. 

“And clamor,” he adds. 

What now, and dost thou take away clamor also? Yes, for the mild man must needs be 
of such a character, because clamor carries anger, as a horse his rider; trip the horse, and 
you will throw the rider. 

Moral. This let women above all attend to, them who on every occasion cry aloud and 
bawl. There is but one thing in which it is useful to cry aloud, in preaching and in teaching. 
But in no other case whatever, no, not even in prayer. And if thou wouldest learn a practical 
lesson, never cry aloud at all, and then wilt thou never be angry at all. Behold a way to keep 
your temper; for as it is not possible that the man that does not cry out should be enraged, 
so is it not that the man who does cry out should be otherwise than enraged. For tell me not 
of a man being implacable, and revengeful, and of pure natural bitterness, and natural 
choler. We are now speaking of the sudden paroxysm of this passion. 

It contributes then no little to this end, to discipline the soul never to raise the voice 
and cry aloud at all. Cut off clamor, and thou wilt clip the wings of anger, thou dost repress 
the first rising of the heart. For as it is impossible for a man to wrestle without lifting up his 
hands, so is it not possible that he should be entangled in a quarrel without lifting up his 
voice. Bind the hands of the boxer, and then bid him strike. He will be unable to do so. So 
likewise will wrath be disarmed. But clamor raises it, even where it does not exist. And hence 
it is especially that the female sex are so easily overtaken in it. Women, whenever they are 
angry with their maid-servants, fill the whole house with their own clamor. And oftentimes 
too, if the house happens to be built along a narrow street, then all the passers-by hear the 
mistress scolding, and the maid weeping and wailing. What can possibly be more disgraceful 
than the sound of those wailings? What in the world has happened there? All the women 
round immediately peep in and one of them says, “Such a one is beating her own maid.” 
Whatever can be more shameless than this? “What then, ought one not to strike at all?” No, 
I say not so, (for it must be done,) but then it must be neither frequently, nor immoderately, 


357 [We have here followed the text of three codices as against the emendations of Field, Savile, and the Be- 
nedictine ed. — G.A.] 


231 


Ephesians 4.31 


nor for any wrongs of thine own, as I am constantly saying, nor for any little failure in her 
service, but only if she is doing harm to her own soul. If thou chastise her for a fault of this 
kind, all will applaud, and there will be none to upbraid thee; but if thou do it for any reasons 
of thine own, all will condemn thy cruelty and harshness. And what is more base than all, 
there are some so fierce and so savage as to lash them to such a degree, that the bruises will 
not disappear with the day. For they will strip the damsels, and call their husbands for the 
purpose, and oftentimes tie them to the pallets. Alas! at that moment, tell me, does no recol- 
lection of hell come over thee? What? dost thou strip thy handmaid, and expose her to thy 
husband? And art thou not ashamed, lest he should condemn thee for it? And then dost 
thou exasperate him yet more, and threaten to put her in chains, having first taunted the 
wretched and pitiable creature with ten thousand reproachful names, and called her 

or O 

“Thessalian witch, runaway, and prostitute”? 

For her passion allows her not to spare even her own mouth, but she looks to one single 
object, how she may wreak her vengeance on the other, even though she disgrace herself. 
And then after all these things forsooth, she will sit in state like any tyrant, and call her 
children, and summon her foolish husband, and treat him as a hangman. Ought these things 
to take place in the houses of Christians? “Aye” say ye, “but slaves are a troublesome, auda- 
cious, impudent, incorrigible race.” True, I know it myself, but there are other ways to keep 
them in order; by terrors, by threats, by words; which may both touch her more powerfully, 
and save thee from disgrace. Thou who art a free woman hast uttered foul words, and dost 
thou not disgrace thyself more than her? Then if she shall have occasion to go out to the 
bath, there are bruises on her back when she is naked, and she carries about with her the 
marks of thy cruelty. “But,” say ye, “the whole tribe of slaves is intolerable if it meet with 
indulgence.” True, I know it myself. But then, as I was saying, correct them in some other 
way, not by the scourge only, and by terror, but even by flattering them, and by acts of 
kindness. If she is a believer, she is thy sister. Consider that thou art her mistress, and that 
she ministers unto thee. If she be intemperate, cut off the occasions of drunkenness; call thy 
husband, and admonish her. Or dost thou not feel how disgraceful a thing it is for a woman 
to be beaten? They at least who have enacted ten thousand punishments for men, — the stake, 
and the rack, — will scarcely ever hang a woman, but limit men’s anger to smiting her on 
the cheek; and so great respect have they observed towards the sex, that not even when there 
is absolute necessity have they often hung a woman, if she happen to be pregnant. For it is 
a disgrace for a man to strike a woman; and if for a man, much more for one of her own 
sex. It is moreover by these things that women become odious to their husbands. “What 
then,” ye may say, “if she shall act the harlot?” Marry her to a husband; cut off the occasions 


358 Vid. Aristoph. Nub. 749, yuvcuKa (pappcudd’ ei 7tpidpEVO(; 0£rraXr|v. Schol., psxP 1 Kal v ^ v (pappaKiSec 
ai ©erraXal KaXouvrai. [What a fearful picture of the cruelties of the mistresses of Chrysostom’s day! — G.A.] 

232 



Ephesians 4.31 


of fornication, suffer her not to be too high fed. “What then, if she shall steal?” Take care of 
her, and watch her. — “Extravagant!” thou wilt say; “What, am I to be her keeper? How ab- 
surd!” And why, I pray, art thou not to be her keeper? Has she not the same kind of soul as 
thou? Has she not been vouchsafed the same privileges by God? Does she not partake of the 
same table? Does she not share with thee the same high birth? “But what then,” ye will say, 
“if she shall be a railer, or a gossip, or a drunkard?” Yet, how many free women are such? 
Now, with all the failings of women God hath charged men to bear: only, He saith, let not 
a woman be an harlot, but every other failing besides bear with. Yea, be she drunkard, or 
railer, or gossip, or evil-eyed, or extravagant, and a squanderer of thy substance, thou hast 
her for the partner of thy life. Train and restrain her. Necessity is upon thee. It is for this 
thou art the head. Regulate her therefore, do thy own part. Yea, and if she remain incorrigible, 
yea, though she steal, take care of thy goods, and do not punish her so much. If she be a 
gossip, silence her. This is the very highest philosophy. 

Now, however, some are come to such a height of indecency as to uncover the head, 
and to drag their maid-servants by the hair. — Why do ye all blush? I am not addressing 
myself to all, but to those who are carried away into such brutal conduct. Paul saith, “Let 
not a woman be uncovered.” (1 Cor. xi. 5-15.) And dost thou then entirely strip off her he- 
address? Dost thou see how thou art doing outrage to thyself? If indeed she makes her ap- 
pearance to thee with her head bare, thou callest it an insult. And dost thou say that there 
is nothing shocking when thou barest it thyself? Then ye will say, “What if she be not cor- 
rected?” Chasten her then with the rod and with stripes. And yet how many failings hast 
thou also thyself, and yet thou art not corrected! These things I am saying not for their sakes, 
but for the sake of you free-women, that ye do nothing so unworthy, nothing to disgrace 
you, that ye do yourselves no wrong. If thou wilt learn this lesson in thy household in 
dealing with thy maid-servant, and not be harsh but gentle and forbearing, much more wilt 
thou be so in thy behavior to thy husband. For she who, though having authority, does 
nothing of the sort, will do it much less where there is a check. So that the discipline employed 
about your maid-servants, will be of the greatest service to you in gaining the goodwill of 
your husbands. “For with what measure ye mete,” He saith, “it shall be measured unto you.” 
(Matt. vii. 2.) Set a bridle upon thy mouth. If thou art disciplined to bear bravely with a 
servant when she answers back, thou wilt not be annoyed with the insolence of an equal, 
and in being above annoyance, wilt have attained to the highest philosophy. But some there 
are who add even oaths, but there is nothing more shocking than a woman so enraged. But 
what again, ye will say, if she dress gaily? Why then, forbid this; thou hast my consent; but 


359 [This is direct preaching. Some would call it personal. But as Daniel Webster said of preaching, so ought 
we “make it a personal matter, a personal matter, a personal matter.” — G.A.] 

360 [And what a graceful and conciliatory turn he gives his discourse here! — G.A.] 


233 


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check it by first beginning with thyself, not so much by fear as by example. Be in everything 
thyself a perfect pattern. 

“And let railing,” saith he, “be put away from you.” Observe the progress of mischief. 
Bitterness produces wrath, wrath anger, anger clamor, clamor railing, that is, revilings; next 
from evil-speaking it goes on to blows, from blows to wounds, from wounds to death. Paul, 
however, did not wish to mention any of these, but only this, “let this,” saith he, “be put 

q i /r i 

away from you, with all malice.” What is “with all malice”? It ends with this. For there 
are some, like those dogs that bite secretly, which do not bark at all at those that come near 
them, nor are angry, but which fawn, and display a gentle aspect; but when they catch us 
off our guard, will fix their teeth in us. These are more dangerous than those that take up 
open enmity. Now since there are men too that are dogs, who neither cry out, nor fly in a 
passion, nor threaten us when they are offended, yet in secret are weaving plots, and contriv- 
ing ten thousand mischiefs, and revenging themselves not in words but in deeds; he hints 
at these. Let those things be put away from you, saith he, “with all malice.” Do not spare thy 
words, and then revenge thyself in acts. My purpose in chastising my tongue and curtailing 
its clamor, is to prevent its kindling up a more violent blaze. But if thou without any clamor 
art doing the same thing, and art cherishing the fire and the live coals within, where is the 
good of thy silence? Dost thou not know that those conflagrations are the most destructive 
of all which are fed within, and appear not to those that are without? And that those wounds 
are the deadliest which never break out to the surface; and those fevers the worst which 
burn up the vitals? So also is this anger the most dangerous that preys upon the soul. But 
let this too be put away from you, saith he, “with all malice,” of every kind and degree, great 
and little. Let us then hearken to him, let us cast out all “bitterness and all malice,” that we 
“grieve not the Holy Spirit.” Let us destroy all bitterness; let us cut it up by the very roots. 
Nothing good, nothing healthful, can ever come from a bitter soul; nothing but misfortunes, 
nothing but tears, nothing but weeping and wailing. Do ye not see those beasts that roar or 
cry out, how we turn away from them; the lion, for instance, and the bear? But not so from 
the sheep; for there is no roaring, but a mild and gentle voice. And so again with musical 
instruments, those which are loud and harsh are the most unpleasant to the ear, such as the 
drum and trumpet; whereas those which are not so, but are soothing, these are pleasant, as 
the flute and lyre and pipe. Let us then prepare our soul so as never to cry aloud, and thus 
shall we be enabled also to gain the mastery over our anger. And when we have cut out this, 
we ourselves shall be the first to enjoy the calm, and we shall sail into that peaceful haven, 
which God grant we may all attain, in Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, together with the 


361 [raida: “‘Malice,’ the genus to which all the above-mentioned vices belong, or rather the active principle 
to which they are all due , — animi pravitas, humanitati et equitati opposita (Calvin).” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


234 



Ephesians 4.31 


Holy Ghost, be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now, and ever, and throughout 
all ages. Amen. 


235 



Ephesians 4:31,32 


Homily XVI. 

Ephesians iv. 31, 32 

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing be put away from you, with 
all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, even as 
God also in Christ forgave you.” 

If we are to attain to the kingdom of Heaven, it is not enough to abandon wickedness, 
but there must be abundant practice of that which is good also. To be delivered indeed from 
hell we must abstain from wickedness; but to attain to the kingdom we must cleave fast to 

•3 /TO 

virtue. Know ye not that even in the tribunals of the heathen, when examination is made 

of men’s deeds, and the whole city is assembled, this is the case? Nay, there was an ancient 
custom amongst the heathen, to crown with a golden crown, — not the man who had 
done no evil to his country, for this were in itself no more than enough to save him from 
punishment; — but him who had displayed great public services. It was thus that a man was 
to be advanced to this distinction. But what I had especial need to say, had, I know not how, 
well nigh escaped me. Accordingly having made some slight correction of what I have said, 
I retract the first portion of this division. 

For as I was saying that the departure from evil is sufficient to prevent our falling into 
hell, whilst I was speaking, there stole upon me a certain awful sentence, which does not 
merely bring down vengeance on them that dare to commit evil, but which also punishes 
those who omit any opportunity of doing good. What sentence then is this? When the day, 
the dreadful day, He saith, was arrived, and the set time was come, the Judge, seated on the 
judgment seat, set the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left; and to the sheep 
He said, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the 
foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat.” (Matt. xxv. 34.) So 
far, well. For it was meet that for such compassion they should receive this reward. That 
those, however, who did not communicate of their own possessions to them that were in 
need, that they should be punished, not merely by the loss of blessings, but by being also 
sent to hell-fire, what just reason, I say, can there be in this? Most certainly this too will have 
a fair show of reason, no less than the other case: for we are hence instructed, that they that 
have done good shall enjoy those good things that are in heaven, but they, who, though they 
have no evil indeed to be charged with, yet have omitted to do good, will be hurried away 


362 [This way of putting it would imply that there is an intermediate place, neither hell nor heaven, which 
Chrysostom felt; and so he corrects himself a little below. This does not appear to be a trick of the orator. — G.A.] 

363 [The Athenians, for example, bestowed a golden crown upon Demosthenes, and his celebrated oration 
“On the Crown” was occasioned by this custom to which Chrysostom refers.] 


236 


Ephesians 4:31,32 


with them that have done evil into hell-fire. Unless one might indeed say this, that the very 
not doing good is a part of wickedness, inasmuch as it comes of indolence, and indolence 
is a part of vice, or rather, not a part, but a source and baneful root of it. For idleness is the 
teacher of all vice. Let us not then foolishly ask such questions as these, what place shall he 
occupy, who has done neither any evil nor any good? For the very not doing good, is in itself 
doing evil. Tell me, if thou hadst a servant, who should neither steal, nor insult, nor contradict 
thee, who moreover should keep from drunkenness and every other kind of vice, and yet 
should sit perpetually in idleness, and not doing one of those duties which a servant owes 
to his master, wouldest thou not chastise him, wouldest thou not put him to the rack? Tell 
me. And yet forsooth he has done no evil. No, but this is in itself doing evil. But let us, if 
you please, apply this to other cases in life. Suppose then that of an husbandman. He does 
no damage to our property, he lays no plots against us, and he is not a thief, he only ties his 
hands behind him, and sits at home, neither sowing, nor cutting a single furrow, nor har- 
nessing oxen to the yoke, nor looking after a vine, nor in fact discharging any one of those 
other labors required in husbandry. Now, I say, should we not punish such a man? And yet 
he has done no wrong to any one; we have no charge to make against him. No, but by this 
very thing has he done wrong. He does wrong in that he does not contribute his own share 
to the common stock of good. And what again, tell me, if every single artisan or mechanic 
were only to do no harm, say to one of a different craft, — nay, were to do no harm, even to 
one of his own, but only were to be idle, would not our whole life at that rate be utterly at 
an end and perish? Do you wish that I yet further extend the discourse with reference to the 
body also? Let the hand then neither strike the head, nor cut out the tongue, nor pluck out 
the eye, nor do any evil of this sort, but only remain idle, and not render its due service to 
the body at large; would it not be more fitting that it should be cut off, than that one should 
carry it about in idleness, and a detriment to the whole body? And what too, if the mouth, 
without either devouring the hand, or biting the breast, should nevertheless fail in all its 
proper duties; were it not far better that it should be stopped up? If therefore both in the 
case of servants, and of mechanics, and of the whole body, not only the commission of evil, 
but also the omission of what is good, is great unrighteousness, much more will this be the 
case in regard to the body of Christ. 

Moral. And therefore the blessed Paul also, in leading us away from sin, leads us on to 
virtue. For where, tell me, is the advantage of all the thorns being cut out, if the good seeds 
be not sown? For our labor, remaining unfinished, will come round and end in the same 
mischief. And therefore Paul also, in his deep and affectionate anxiety for us, does not let 
his admonitions stop at eradicating and destroying evil tempers, but urges us at once to 
evidence the implanting of good ones. For having said, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and 


237 



Ephesians 4:31,32 


clamor, and railing be put away from you, with all malice,” he adds, “And be 364 ye kind one 
to another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other.” For all these are habits and dispositions. 
And our abandonment of the one thing is not sufficient to settle us in the habitual practice 
of the other, but there is need again of some fresh impulse, and of an effort not less than 
that made in our avoidance of evil dispositions, in order to our acquiring good ones. For so 
in the case of the body, the black man, if he gets rid of this complexion, does not straightway 
become white. Or rather let us not conduct our discourse with an argument from physical 
subjects, but draw our example from those which concern moral choice. He who is not our 
enemy, is not necessarily our friend; but there is an intermediate state, neither of enmity 
nor of friendship, which is perhaps that in which the greater part of mankind stand toward 
us. He that is not crying is not therefore necessarily also laughing, but there is a state between 
the two. And so, I say, is the case here. He that is not “bitter” is not necessarily “kind,” neither 
is he that is not “wrathful” necessarily “tender-hearted”; but there is need of a distinct effort, 
in order to acquire this excellence. And now look how the blessed Paul, according to the 
rules of the best husbandry, thoroughly cleans and works the land entrusted to him by the 
Husbandman. He has taken away the bad seeds; he now exhorts us to retain the good plants. 
“Be ye kind,” saith he, for if, when the thorns are plucked up, the field remains idle, it will 
again bear unprofitable weeds. And therefore there is need to preoccupy its unoccupied and 
fallow state by the setting of good seeds and plants. He takes away “anger,” he puts in 
“kindness”; he takes away “bitterness,” he puts in “tender-heartedness”; he extirpates “malice” 
and “railing,” he plants “forgiveness” in their stead. For the expression, “forgiving one an- 
other,” is this; be disposed, he means, to forgive one another. And this forgiveness is greater 
than that which is shown in money-matters. For he indeed who forgives a debt of money 
to him that has borrowed of him, does, it is true, a noble and admirable deed, but then the 
kindness is confined to the body, though to himself indeed he repays a full recompense by 
that benefit which is spiritual and concerns the soul; whereas he who forgives trespasses 
will be benefiting alike his own soul, and the soul of him who receives the forgiveness. For 
by this way of acting, he not only renders himself, but the other also, more charitable. Because 
we do not so deeply touch the souls of those who have wronged us by revenging ourselves, 
as by pardoning them, and thus shaming them and putting them out of countenance. For 
by the other course we shall be doing no good, either to ourselves or to them, but shall be 
doing harm to both by seeking ourselves for retaliation, like the rulers of the Jews, and by 
kindling up the wrath that is in them; but if we return injustice with gentleness, we shall 
disarm all his anger, and shall be setting up in his breast a tribunal which will give a verdict 
in our favor, and will condemn him more severely than we ourselves could. For he will 


364 [“Not ‘be’ (eote), but ‘become’ (■yivEaGe), in keeping with the apGrjTU) acp’ upcov, ‘let it be put away’ from 
you.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


238 



Ephesians 4:31,32 


convict and will pass sentence upon himself, and will look for every pretext for repaying the 
share of long-suffering granted him with fuller measure, knowing that, if he repay it in equal 
measure, he is thus at a disadvantage, in not having himself made the beginning, but received 
the example from us. He will strive accordingly to exceed in measure, in order to eclipse, 
by the excess of his recompense, the disadvantage he himself sustains in having been second 
in making advances towards requital; and the disadvantage again which accrues to the other 
from the time, if he was the first sufferer, this he will make up by excess of kindness. For 
men, if they are right-minded, are not so affected by evil as by the good treatment they may 
receive at the hands of those whom they have injured. For it is a base sin, and it is matter of 
reproach and scorn for a man who is well-treated not to return it; whilst for a man who is 
ill-treated, not to go about to resent it, this has the praise and applause, and the good word 
of all. And therefore they are more deeply touched by this conduct than any. 

So that if thou hast a wish to revenge thyself, revenge thyself in this manner. Return 
good for evil, that thou mayest render him even thy debtor, and achieve a glorious victory. 
Hast thou suffered evil? Do good; thus avenge thee of thine enemy. For if thou shalt go about 
to resent it, all will blame both thee and him alike. Whereas if thou shalt endure it, it will 
be otherwise. Thee they will applaud and admire; but him they will reproach. And what 
greater punishment can there be to an enemy, than to behold his enemy admired and ap- 
plauded by all men? What more bitter to an enemy, than to behold himself reproached by 
all before his enemy’s face? If thou shalt avenge thee on him, thou wilt both be condemned 
perhaps thyself, and wilt be the sole avenger; whereas, if thou shalt forgive him, all will be 
avengers in thy stead. And this will be far more severe than any evil he can suffer, that his 
enemy should have so many to avenge him. If thou openest thy mouth, they will be silent; 
but if thou art silent, not with one tongue only, but with ten thousand tongues of others, 
thou smitest him, and art the more avenged. And on thee indeed, if thou shalt reproach 
him, many again will cast imputations (for they will say that thy words are those of passion); 
but when others who have suffered no wrong from him thus overwhelm him with reproaches, 
then is the revenge especially clear of all suspicion. For when they who have suffered no 
mischief, in consequence of thy excessive forbearance feel and sympathize with thee, as 
though they had been wronged themselves, this is a vengeance clear of all suspicion. “But 
what then,” ye will say, “if no man should take vengeance?” It cannot be that men will be 
such stones, as to behold such wisdom and not admire it. And though they wreak not their 
vengeance on him at the time; still, afterwards, when they are in the mood, they will do so, 
and they will continue to scoff at him and abuse him. And if no one else admire thee, the 
man himself will most surely admire thee, though he may not own it. For our judgment of 
what is right, even though we be come to the very depth of wickedness, remains impartial 
and unbiased. Why, suppose ye, did our Lord Christ say, “Whosoever smiteth thee on the 
right cheek, turn to him the other also”? (Matt. v. 39.) Is it not because the more long-suf- 


239 


Ephesians 4:31,32 


fering a man is, the more signal the benefit he confers both on himself and on the other? 
For this cause He charges us to “turn the other also,” to satisfy the desire of the enraged. 
For who is such a monster as not to be at once put to shame? The very dogs are said to feel 
it; for if they bark and attack a man, and he throws himself on his back and does nothing, 
he puts a stop to all their wrath. If they then reverence the man who is ready to suffer 
evil from them, much more will the race of man do so, inasmuch as they are more rational. 

However, it is right not to overlook what a little before came into my recollection, and 
was brought forward for a testimony. And what then was this? We were speaking of the 
Jews, and of the chief rulers amongst them, how that they were blamed, as seeking retaliation. 
And yet this the law permitted them; “eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” (Lev. xxiv. 20.) True, 
but not to the intent that men should pluck out each other’s eyes, but that they should check 
boldness in aggression, by fear of suffering in return, and thus should neither do any evil 
to others, nor suffer any evil from others themselves. Therefore it was said, “eye for eye,” to 
bind the hands of the aggressor, not to let thine loose against him; not to ward off the hurt 
from thine eyes only, but also to preserve his eyes safe and sound. 

But, as to what I was enquiring about, — why, if retaliation was allowed, were they ar- 
raigned who practiced it? Whatever can this mean? He here speaks of vindictiveness; for 
on the spur of the moment he allows the sufferer to act, as I was saying, in order to check 
the aggressor; but to bear a grudge he permits no longer; because the act then is no longer 
one of passion, nor of boiling rage, but of malice premeditated. Now God forgives those 
who may be carried away, perhaps upon a sense of outrage, and rush out to resent it. Hence 
He says, “eye for eye”; and yet again, “the ways of the revengeful lead to death.” Now, if, 
where it was permitted to put out eye for eye, so great a punishment is reserved for the re- 
vengeful, how much more for those who are bidden even to expose themselves to ill-treat- 
ment. Let us not then be revengeful, but let us quench our anger, that we may be counted 
worthy of the lovingkindness, which comes from God (“for with what measure,” saith Christ, 
“ye mete, it shall be measured unto you, and with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be 
judged”) (Matt. vii. 2.), and that we may both escape the snares of this present life, and in 
the day that is at hand, may obtain pardon at His hands, through the grace and loving- 
kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, 
be glory, power, honor, both now and forever and ever. Amen. 


365 [Compare Odyssey, Bk. xiv. 33-36, where Ulysses thus quiets the dogs of Eumaeus: — “Soon as Ulysses 
near the enclosure drew, With open mouths the furious mastiffs flew; Down sat the sage, and, cautious to withstand, Let 
fall the offensive truncheon from his hand.” Pope’s translation. — G.A.] 

366 [Prov. xii. 28, according to Septuagint, which has o6oi Se pvqoiKaKcov e’u; Gavarov. The Rev. Ver., following 
the Hebrew, has, “And in the pathway thereof (righteousness) there is no death.” — G.A.] 


240 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


Homily XVII. 

Ephesians iv. 32 and v. 1, 2 

“And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in 

Christ forgave you. Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, 

even as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to 

God for an odor of a sweet smell.” 

The events which are past have greater force than those which are yet to come, and appear 
to be both more wonderful and more convincing. And hence accordingly Paul founds his 
exhortation upon the things which have already been done for us, inasmuch as they, on 
Christ’s account, have a greater force. For to say, “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven” (Matt, 
vi. 14.), and “ifye forgive not, ye shall in nowise be forgiven” (Matt. vi. 15.), — this addressed 
to men of understanding, and men who believe in the things to come, is of great weight; but 
Paul appeals to the conscience not by these arguments only, but also by things already done 
for us. In the former way we may escape punishment, whereas in this latter we may have 
our share of some positive good. Thou imitatest Christ. This alone is enough to recommend 
virtue, that it is “to imitate God.” This is a higher principle than the other, “for He maketh 
His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.” (Matt, 
v. 45.) Because he does not merely say that we are “imitating God,” but that we do so in 
those things wherein we receive ourselves such benefits. He would have us cherish the tender 
heart of fathers towards each other. For by heart, here, is meant lovingkindness and com- 
passion. For inasmuch as it cannot be that, being men, we shall avoid either giving pain or 
suffering it, he does the next thing, he devises a remedy, — that we should forgive one another. 
And yet there is no comparison. For if thou indeed shouldest at this moment forgive any 
one, he will forgive thee again in return; whereas to God thou hast neither given nor forgiven 
anything. And thou indeed art forgiving a fellow- servant; whereas God is forgiving a servant, 
and an enemy, and one that hates Him. 

“Even as God,” saith he, “also in Christ forgave you.” 

And this, moreover, contains a high allusion. Not simply, he would say, hath He forgiven 
us, and at no risk or cost, but at the sacrifice of His Son; for that He might forgive thee, He 
sacrificed the Son; whereas thou, oftentimes, even when thou seest pardon to be both without 
risk and without cost, yet dost not grant it. 

“Be ye therefore imitators of God as beloved children; and walk in love, even as Christ 
also loved you, and gave Himself up for us an offering and sacrifice to God for an odor of 
a sweet smell.” 

That thou mayest not then think it an act of necessity, hear how He saith, that “He gave 
Himself up.” As thy Master loved thee, love thou thy friend. Nay, but neither wilt thou be 


241 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


able so to love; yet still do so as far as thou art able. Oh, what can be more blessed than a 
sound like this! Tell me of royalty or whatever else thou wilt, there is no comparison. Forgive 
another, and thou art “imitating God,” thou art made like unto God. It is more our duty to 
forgive trespasses than debts of money; for if thou forgive debts, thou hast not “imitated 
God”; whereas if thou shalt forgive trespasses, thou art “imitating God.” And yet how shalt 
thou be able to say, “I am poor, and am not able to forgive it,” that is, a debt, when thou 
forgivest not that which thou art able to forgive, that is, a trespass? And surely thou dost 
not deem that in this case there is any loss. Yea, is it not rather wealth, is it not abundance, 
is it not a plentiful store? 

And behold yet another and a nobler incitement: — “as beloved children,” saith he. 

Ye have yet another cogent reason to imitate Him, not only in that ye have received such 
good at His hands, but also in that ye are called His children. And since not all children 
imitate their fathers, but those which are beloved, therefore he saith, “as beloved children.” 

Ver. 2. “Walk in love.” 368 

Behold, here, the groundwork of all! So then where this is, there is no “wrath, no anger, 
no clamor, no railing,” but all are done away. Accordingly he puts the chief point last. 
Whence wast thou made a child? Because thou wast forgiven. On the same ground on which 
thou hast had so vast a privilege vouch-safed thee, on that selfsame ground forgive thy 
neighbor. Tell me, I say, if thou wert in prison, and hadst ten thousand misdeeds to answer 
for, and some one were to bring thee into the palace; or rather to pass over this argument, 
suppose thou wert in a fever and in the agonies of death, and some one were to benefit thee 
by some medicine, wouldest thou not value him more than all, yea and the very name of 
the medicine? For if we thus regard occasions and places by which we are benefited, even 
as our own souls, much more shall we the things themselves. Be a lover then of love; for by 
this art thou saved, by this hast thou been made a son. And if thou shalt have it in thy power 
to save another, wilt thou not use the same remedy, and give the advice to all, “Forgive, that 
ye maybe forgiven”? Thus to incite one another, were the part of grateful, of generous, and 
noble spirits. 

“Even as Christ also,” he adds, “loved you.” 

Thou art only sparing friends, He enemies. So then far greater is that boon which cometh 
from our Master. For how in our case is the “even as” preserved. Surely it is clear that it will 
be, by our doing good to our enemies. 


367 [“Now to be God’s beloved child, and not to become like the loving Father, — how contradictory were 
this!” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

368 [“And walk in love”: “The kcu annexes that wherein this imitation of God must consist, namely, that ‘love’ 
is the element in which their life-work was to take place, love such as Christ also has displayed towards 
us.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


242 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


“And gave Himself up for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet 
smell.” 

Seest thou that to suffer for one’s enemies is “a sweet-smelling savor,” and an “acceptable 
sacrifice”? And if thou shalt die, then wilt thou be indeed a sacrifice. This it is to “imitate 
God.” 

Ver. 3. “But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named 
among you, as becometh saints.” 

He has spoken of the bitter passion, of wrath; he now comes to the lesser evil: for that 
lust is the lesser evil, hear how Moses also in the law says, first, “Thou shalt do no murder” 
(Ex. xx. 13.), which is the work of wrath, and then, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 
xx. 14.), which is of lust. For as “bitterness,” and “clamor,” and “all malice,” and “railing,” 
and the like, are the works of the passionate man, so likewise are “fornication, uncleanness, 
covetousness,” those of the lustful; since avarice and sensuality spring from the same pas- 
sion. But just as in the former case he took away “clamor” as being the vehicle of “anger,” 

so now does he “filthy talking” and “jesting” as being the vehicle of lust; for he proceeds, 

Ver. 4. “Nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting; but rather 
giving of thanks.” 

Have no witticisms, no obscenities, either in word or in deed, and thou wilt quench the 
flame — “let them not even be named,” saith he, “among you,” that is, let them not anywhere 
even make their appearance. This he says also in writing to the Corinthians. “It is actually 
reported that there is fornication among you” ( 1 Cor. v. 1 .); as much as to say, Be ye all pure. 
For words are the way to acts. Then, that he may not appear a forbidding kind of person 
and austere, and a destroyer of playfulness, he goes on to add the reason, by saying, “which 
are not befitting,” which have nothing to do with us — “but rather giving of thanks.” What 
good is there in uttering a witticism? thou only raisest a laugh. Tell me, will the shoemaker 
ever busy himself about anything which does not belong to or befit his trade? or will he 
purchase any tool of that kind? No, never. Because the things we do not need, are nothing 
to us. 

Moral. Let there not be one idle word; for from idle words we fall also into foul words. 
The present is no season of loose merriment, but of mourning, of tribulation, and lamenta- 
tion: and dost thou play the jester? What wrestler on entering the ring neglects the struggle 
with his adversary, and utters witticisms? The devil stands hard at hand, “he is going about 
roaring” (1 Pet. v. 8.) to catch thee, he is moving everything, and turning everything against 
thy life, and is scheming to force thee from thy retreat, he is grinding his teeth and bellowing, 
he is breathing fire against thy salvation; and dost thou sit uttering witticisms, and “talking 


369 [“Sensuality” and “covetousness” are the two cardinal vices of the heathen which are to be avoided by 
Christians.” — Meyer on iv. 19. — G.A.] 


243 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


folly,” and uttering things “which are not befitting.” Full nobly then wilt thou be able to 
overcome him! We are in sport, beloved. Wouldest thou know the life of the saints? Listen 
to what Paul saith. “By the space of three years I ceased not to admonish every one night 
and day with tears.” (Acts xx. 31.) And if so great was the zeal he exerted in behalf of them 
of Miletus and Ephesus, not making pleasant speeches, but introducing his admonition with 
tears, what should one say of the rest? But hearken again to what he says to the Corinthians. 
“Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears.” (2 Cor. ii. 
4.) And again, “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” “Who is made to stumble, and I burn 
not?” (2 Cor. xi. 29.) And hearken again to what he says elsewhere, desiring every day, as 
one might say, to depart out of the world. “For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do 
groan” (2 Cor. v. 4.); and dost thou laugh and play? It is war-time, and art thou handling 
the dancers’ instruments? Look at the countenances of men in battle, their dark and contrac- 
ted mien, their brow terrible and full of awe. Mark the stern eye, the heart eager and beating 
and throbbing, their spirit collected, and trembling and intensely anxious. All is good order, 
all is good discipline, all is silence in the camps of those who are arrayed against each other. 
They speak not, I do not say, an impertinent word, but they utter not a single sound. Now 
if they who have visible enemies, and who are in nowise injured by words, yet observe so 
great silence, dost thou who hast thy warfare, and the chief of thy warfare in words, dost 
thou leave this part naked and exposed? Or art thou ignorant that it is here that we are most 
beset with snares? Art thou amusing and enjoying thyself, and uttering witticisms and raising 
a laugh, and regarding the matter as a mere nothing? How many perjuries, how many injuries, 
how many filthy speeches have arisen from witticisms! “But no,” ye will say, “pleasantries 
are not like this.” Yet hear how he excludes all kinds of jesting. It is a time now of war and 
fighting, of watch and guard, of arming and arraying ourselves. The time of laughter can 
have no place here; for that is of the world. Hear what Christ saith: “The world shall rejoice, 
but ye shall be sorrowful.” (John xvi. 20.) Christ was crucified for thy ills, and dost thou 
laugh? He was buffeted, and endured so great sufferings because of thy calamity, and the 
tempest that had overtaken thee; and dost thou play the reveler? And how wilt thou not 
then rather provoke Him? 

But since the matter appears to some to be one of indifference, which moreover is difficult 
to be guarded against, let us discuss this point a little, to show you how vast an evil it is. For 
indeed this is a work of the devil, to make us disregard things indifferent. First of all then, 
even if it were indifferent, not even in that case were it right to disregard it, when one knows 
that the greatest evils are both produced and increased by it, and that it oftentimes terminates 
in fornication. However, that it is not even indifferent is evident from hence. Let us see then 
whence it is produced. Or rather, let us see what sort of a person a saint ought to be: — gentle, 
meek, sorrowful, mournful, contrite. The man then who deals in jests is no saint. Nay, were 
he even a Greek, such an one would be scorned. These are things allowed to those only who 


244 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


are on the stage. Where filthiness is, there also is jesting; where unseasonable laughter is, 
there also is jesting. Hearken to what the Prophet saith, “Serve the Lord in fear, and rejoice 
with trembling.” (Ps. ii. 11.) Jesting renders the soul soft and indolent. It excites the soul 
unduly, and often it teems with acts of violence, and creates wars. But what more? In fine, 
hast thou not come to be among men? then “put away childish things.” (1 Cor. xiii. 11.) 
Why, thou wilt not allow thine own servant in the market place to speak an impertinent 
word: and dost thou then, who sayest thou art a servant of God, go uttering thy witticisms 
in the public square? It is well if the soul that is “sober” be not stolen away; but one that is 
relaxed and dissolute, who cannot carry off? It will be its own murderer, and will stand in 
no need of the crafts or assaults of the devil. 

But, moreover, in order to understand this, look too at the very name. It means the 
versatile man, the man of all complexions, the unstable, the pliable, the man that can be 
anything and everything. But far is this from those who are servants to the Rock. Such a 
character quickly turns and changes; for he must needs mimic both gesture and speech, and 
laugh and gait, and everything, aye, and such an one is obliged to invent jokes: for he needs 
this also. But far be this from a Christian, to play the buffoon. Farther, the man who plays 
the jester must of necessity incur the signal hatred of the objects of his random ridicule, 
whether they be present, or being absent hear of it. 

If the thing is creditable, why is it left to mountebanks? What, dost thou make thyself 
a mountebank, and yet art not ashamed? Why is it ye permit not your gentlewomen to do 
so? Is it not that ye set it down as a mark of an immodest, and not of a discreet character? 
Great are the evils that dwell in a soul given to jesting; great is the ruin and desolation. Its 
consistency is broken, the building is decayed, fear is banished, reverence is gone. A tongue 
thou hast, not that thou mayest ridicule another man, but that thou mayest give thanks 

in 1 

unto God. Look at your merriment-makers, as they are called, those buffoons. These are 
your jesters. Banish from your souls, I entreat you, this graceless accomplishment. It is the 
business of parasites, of mountebanks, of dancers, of harlots; far be it from a generous, far 
be it from a highborn soul, aye, far too even from slaves. If there be any one who has lost 
respect, if there be any vile person, that man is also a j ester. T o many indeed the thing appears 
to be even a virtue, and this truly calls for our sorrow. Just as lust by little and little drives 
headlong into fornication, so also does a turn for jesting. It seems to have a grace about it, 
yet there is nothing more graceless than this. For hear the Scripture which says, “Before the 

inn 

thunder goeth lightning, and before a shamefaced man shall go favor.” Now there is 


370 [“euTpcmEXia, from EurpaTtEXop, which is derived from Eh and Tp£Tt£00ai, ‘that which easily turns,’ and 
in this way adapts itself to the moods and conditions of those with whom at the moment it may deal.” — Trench, 
Synonyms ofN.T. 1 series, p. 167. — G.A.] 

371 [y£Xu)T07toiouc;, literally, “laugh-makers.” — G.A.] 

372 [rtpo PpovTfp; KaraaraudELdaTpaTtij, Kainpo aiaxuvTr]pou TtpoEXEuaETaiyapic;. — Ecclus. xxxii. 10. — G.A.] 

245 


Ephesians 4:32; 5:1 


nothing more shameless than the jester; so that his mouth is not full of favor, but of pain. 
Let us banish this custom from our tables. Yet are there some who teach it even to the poor! 
O monstrous! they make men in affliction play the jester. Why, where shall not this pest be 
found next? Already has it been brought into the Church itself. Already has it laid hold of 
the very Scriptures. Need I say anything to prove the enormity of the evil? I am ashamed 
indeed, but still nevertheless I will speak; for I am desirous to show to what a length the 
mischief has advanced, that I may not appear to be trifling, or to be discoursing to you on 
some trifling subject; that even thus I may be enabled to withdraw you from this delusion. 
And let no one think that I am fabricating, but I will tell you what I have really heard. A 
certain person happened to be in company with one of those who pride themselves highly 
on their knowledge (now I know I shall excite a smile, but still I will say it notwithstanding); 
and when the platter was set before him, he said, “Take and eat, children, lest your belly be 
angry!’ And again, others say, Woe unto thee, Mammon, and to him that hath thee 
not;” and many like enormities has jesting introduced; as when they say, “Now is there 
no nativity.” And this I say to show the enormity of this base temper; for these are the 
expressions of a soul destitute of all reverence. And are not these things enough to call down 
thunderbolts? And one might find many other such things which have been said by these 
men. 

Wherefore, I entreat you, let us banish the custom universally, and speak those things 
which become us. Let not holy mouths utter the words of dishonorable and base men. “For 
what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity, or what communion hath light with 
darkness?” (2 Cor. vi. 14.) Happy will it be for us, if, having kept ourselves aloof from all 
such foul things, we be thus able to attain to the promised blessings; far indeed from dragging 
such a train after us, and sullying the purity of our minds by so many. For the man who will 
play the jester will soon go on to be a railer, and the railer will go on to heap ten thousand 
other mischiefs on himself. When then we shall have disciplined these two faculties of the 
soul, anger and desire (vid. Plat. Phaedr. cc. 25, 34), and have put them like well-broken 
horses under the yoke of reason, then let us set over them the mind as charioteer, that we 
may “gain the prize of our high calling” (Philip, iii. 14.); which God grant that we may all 
attain, through Jesus Christ our Lord, with Whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be unto 
the Father, glory, might, and honor, now, and ever, and throughout all ages. Amen. 


373 Apa^aaGs, 7iaiSia, pr| tote opyiaGfi KoiXia. 

374 ouai aoi, papcova, Kal tu> pf| exovtl oe. 

375 "Apti ouk Eon yeveou;. vid. Suicer, Thesaurus, voc. yeveolc;, n. 3. 


246 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


Homily XVIII. 

Ephesians v. 5, 6 

“For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which 
is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive 
you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons 
of disobedience.” 

There were, it is likely, in the time of our forefathers also, some who “weakened the 
hands of the people” (Jer. xxxviii. 4.), and brought into practice that which is mentioned by 
Ezekiel, — or rather who did the works of the false prophets, who “profaned God among His 
people for handfuls of barley” (Ezek. xiii. 19.); a thing, by the way, done methinks by some 
even at this day. When, for example, we say that he who calleth his brother a fool shall depart 
into hell-fire, others say, “What? Is he that calls his brother a fool to depart into hell-fire? 
Impossible,” say they. And again, when we say that “the covetous man is an idolater,” in 
this too again they make abatements, and say the expression is hyperbolical. And in this 
manner they underrate and explain away all the commandments. It was in allusion then to 
these that the blessed Paul, at this time when he wrote to the Ephesians, spoke thus, “For 
this ye know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, which is an id- 

onn 

olater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God”; adding, “let no man 
deceive you with empty words.” Now “empty words” are those which for a while are grati- 
fying, but are in nowise borne out in facts; because the whole case is a deception. 

“Because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience.” 
Because of “fornication,” he means, because of “covetousness,” because of “uncleanness,” 

'in o 

or both because of these things, and because of the “deceit,” inasmuch as there are deceiv- 

ers. “Sons of disobedience”; he thus calls those who are utterly disobedient, those who disobey 
Him. 


376 [“’'Iote ■yivtboKOVTEc;: ‘This you are aware of from your own knowledge,’ so that I need not first to instruct 
you with regard to it, ‘that,’ etc. This is not Hebraism, since ■yivtboKOVTEc; is a different verb from iote, but it is 
like optov Kai aKoutov oiSa, Xen. Cyr. iv. 1, 14.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

377 [“In accordance with the context, this refers to unbelieving Gentiles who sought to palliate those Gentile 
vices, to make them out as matter of indifference, and so to entice Christians back to the Gentile life.” — Mey- 
er. — G.A.] 

378 [6ib rauTci refers not “to deceiving with empty words,” but to the “vices” just mentioned. Comp, parallel 
passage, Col. iii. 6. — G.A.] 


247 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


Q-yq 

Ver. 7, 8. “Be not ye, therefore, partakers with them. For ye were once darkness, but 
are now light in the Lord.” 

Observe how wisely he urges them forward; first, from the thought of Christ, that ye 
love one another, and do injury to no man; then, on the other hand, from the thought of 
punishment and hell-fire. “For ye were once darkness,” says he, “but are now light in the 
Lord.” Which is what he says also in the Epistle to the Romans; “What fruit then had ye at 
that time in the things whereof ye are now ashamed?” (Rom. vi. 21.), and reminds them of 
their former wickedness. That is to say, thinking what ye once were, and what ye are now 
become, do not run back into your former wickedness, nor do “despite to the grace” (Heb. 
x. 29.) of God. 

“Ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord!” 

Not, he says, by your own virtue, but through the grace of God has this accrued to you. 
That is to say, ye also were sometime worthy of the same punishments, but now are so no 
more. “Walk” therefore “as children of light.” What is meant however by “children of light,” 
he adds afterwards. 

OOA 

Ver. 9, 10. “For the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, 

proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord.” 

501 

“In all goodness,” he says: this is opposed to the angry, and the bitter: “and righteous- 
ness”; this to the covetous: “and truth”; this to false pleasure: not those former things, he 
says, which I was mentioning, but their opposites. “In all”; that is, the fruit of the Spirit ought 
to be evinced in everything. “Proving what is well-pleasing unto the Lord”; so that those 
things are tokens of a childish and imperfect mind. 

Ver. 11, 12, 13. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but 
rather even reprove them. For the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even 
to speak of. But all things when they are reproved, are made manifest by the light.” 

He had said, “ye are light.” Now the light reproves by exposing the things which take 
place in the darkness. So that if ye, says he, are virtuous, and conspicuous, the wicked will 
be unable to lie hidden. For just as when a candle is set, all are brought to light, and the thief 
cannot enter; so if your light shine, the wicked being discovered shall be caught. So then it 
is our duty to expose them. How then does our Lord say, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”? 
(Matt. vii. 1, 3.) Paul did not say “judge,” he said “reprove,” that is, correct. And the words, 


379 [fjt£ yap, &c. fjtE prefixed with significant emphasis, has the force of a “ground”: For your former state 
of darkness (with which those vices were in keeping) is “past.” Comp. Rom. vi. 17. — Meyer and Ellicott. — G.A.] 

380 [‘“Fruit of the light’ (not of the spirit, as Chrysostom’s text has) denotes figuratively the aggregate of 
moral effects which Christian enlightenment produces.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

381 [“Chrysostom’s interpretation is too specific. The words mean ‘good, right, true,’ and embrace the whole 
of Christian morality.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


248 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


“Judge not, that ye be not judged,” He spoke with reference to very small errors. Indeed, He 
added, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the 
beam that is in thine own eye?” But what Paul is saying is of this sort. As a wound, so long 
as it is imbedded and concealed outwardly, and runs beneath the surface, receives no atten- 
tion, so also sin, as long as it is concealed, being as it were in darkness, is daringly committed 
in full security; but as soon as “it is made manifest,” becomes “light”; not indeed the sin itself, 
(for how could that be?) but the sinner. For when he has been brought out to light, when 
he has been admonished, when he has repented, when he has obtained pardon, hast thou 
not cleared away all his darkness? Hast thou not then healed his wound? Hast thou not 
called his unfruitfulness into fruit? Either this is his meaning, or else what I said above, 
that your life “being manifest, is light.” For no one hides an irreproachable life; whereas 
things which are hidden, are hidden by darkness covering them. 

Ver. 14. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and 
Christ shall shine upon thee.” 

By the “sleeper” and the “dead,” he means the man that is in sin; for he both exhales 
noisome odors like the dead, and is inactive like one that is asleep, and like him he sees 
nothing, but is dreaming, and forming fancies and illusions. Some indeed read, “And 
thou shalt touch Christ”; but others, “And Christ shall shine upon thee”; and it is rather this 
latter. Depart from sin, and thou shalt be able to behold Christ. “For every one that doeth 
ill, hateth the light, and cometh not to the light.” (John iii. 20.) He therefore that doeth it 
not, cometh to the light. 

Now he is not saying this with reference to the unbelievers only, for many of the faithful, 
no less than unbelievers, hold fast by wickedness; nay, some far more. Therefore to these 
also it is necessary to exclaim, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and 


382 [This difficult passage is thus translated by Ellicott: It is true these things are done in secret, but all of 
them, when reproved, are made manifest by the light (thus shed upon them); for everything that is made 
manifest is light (becomes daylight, is of the nature of light). — G.A.] 

383 [erntj/auaEu; (instead of EmcpauoEi) is the reading of D* and E, and the Latin versions of these mss. ( continges 
Christum), but it never obtained much acceptance, and hardly appears in extant codices. See Scrivener’s Introd. 
632, and Westcott and Hort, Appendix, p. 125. — G.A.] 

384 [“The words here quoted are not found exactly in this form in the O.T., but certainly occur in substance 
in Isa. lx. 1. Instead of resorting to the explanation of Meyer or De Wette (which are somewhat rationalistic), it 
is better to say that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is expressing in a condensed form the spiritual 
meaning of the passage.” — Ellicott. Riddle says: “It is Isa. lx. 1, partly paraphrased and partly condensed, and 
interpreted in the light of its fulfillment.” “This call of God to the sons of disobedience to awake, confirms the 
necessity of the iXeyye iv, and the promise, ‘Christ shall shine upon thee,’ confirms the salutary influence of the 
light.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


249 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


Christ shall shine upon thee.” To these it is fitting to say this also, “God is not the God of 
the dead, but of the living.” (Matt. xxii. 32.) If then he is not the God of the dead, let us live. 

Now there are some who say that the words, “the covetous man is an idolater,” are hy- 
perbolical. However, the statement is not hyperbolical, it is true. How, and in what way? 
Because the covetous man apostatizes from God, just as the idolater does. And lest you 
should imagine this is a bare assertion, there is a declaration of Christ which saith, “Ye 
cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Matt. vi. 24.) If then it is not possible to serve God and 
Mammon, they who serve Mammon have thrown themselves out of the service of God; and 
they who have denied His sovereignty, and serve lifeless gold, it is plain enough that they 
are idolaters. “But I never made an idol,” a man will say, “nor set up an altar, nor sacrificed 
sheep, nor poured libations of wine; no, I came into the church, and lifted up my hands to 
the Only-begotten Son of God; I partake of the mysteries, I communicate in prayer, and in 
everything else which is a Christian’s duty. How then,” he will say, “am I a worshiper of 
idols?” Yes, and this is the very thing which is the most astonishing of all, that when thou 
hast had experience, and hast “tasted” the lovingkindness of God, and “hast seen that the 
Lord is gracious” (Ps. xxxiv. 8.), thou shouldest abandon Him who is gracious, and take to 
thyself a cruel tyrant, and shouldest pretend to be serving Him, whilst in reality thou hast 
submitted thyself to the hard and galling yoke of covetousness. Thou hast not yet told me 
of thy own duty done, but only of thy Master’s gifts. For tell me, I beseech thee, whence do 
we judge of a soldier? Is it when he is on duty guarding the king, and is fed by him, and 
called the king’s own, or is it when he is minding his own affairs and interests? To pretend 
to be with him, and to be attentive to his interests, whilst he is advancing the cause of the 
enemy, we declare to be worse than if he breaks away from the king’s service, and joins the 
enemy. Now then thou art doing despite to God, just as an idolater does, not with thine own 
mouth singly, but with the ten thousands of those whom thou hast wronged. Yet you will 
say, “an idolater he is not.” But surely, whenever they say, “Oh! that Christian, that covetous 
fellow,” then not only is he himself committing outrage by his own act, but he frequently 
forces those also whom he has wronged to use these words; and if they use them not, this 
is to be set to the account of their reverence. 

Do we not see that such is the fact? What else is an idolater? Or does not he too worship 
passions, oftentimes not mastering his passions? I mean, for example, when we say that the 
pagan idolater worships idols, he will say, “No, but it is Venus, or it is Mars.” And if we say, 
Who is this Venus? the more modest amongst them will say, It is pleasure. Or what is this 
Mars? It is wrath. And in the same way dost thou worship Mammon. If we say, Who is this 
Mammon? It is covetousness, and this thou art worshiping. “I worship it not,” thou wilt 
say. Why not? Because thou dost not bow thyself down? Nay, but as it is, thou art far more 
a worshiper in thy deeds and practices; for this is the higher kind of worship. And that you 
may understand this, look in the case of God; who more truly worship Him, they who merely 


250 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


stand up at the prayers, or they who do His will? Clearly enough, these latter. The same also 
is it with the worshipers of Mammon; they who do his will, they truly are his worshipers. 
However, they who worship the passions are oftentimes free from the passions. One may 
see a worshiper of Mars oftentimes governing his wrath. But this is not true of thee; thou 
makest thyself a slave to thy passion. 

Yes, but thou slayest no sheep? No, thou slayest men, reasonable souls, some by famine, 
others by blasphemies. Nothing can be more frenzied than a sacrifice like this. Who ever 
beheld souls sacrificed? How accursed is the altar of covetousness! When thou passest by 
this idol’s altar here, thou shaft see it reeking with the blood of bullocks and goats; but when 
thou shaft pass by the altar of covetousness, thou shaft see it breathing the shocking odor 
of human blood. Stand here before it in this world, and thou shaft see, not the wings of birds 
burning, no vapor, no smoke exhaled, but the bodies of men perishing. For some throw 
themselves among precipices, others tie the halter, others thrust the dagger through their 
throat. Hast thou seen the cruel and inhuman sacrifices? Wouldest thou see yet more 
shocking ones than these? Then I will show thee no longer the bodies of men, but the souls 
of men slaughtered in the other world. Yes, for it is possible for a soul to be slain with the 

oo r 

slaughter peculiar to the soul; for as there is a death of the body, so is there also of the 
soul. “The soul that sinneth,” saith the Prophet, “it shall die.” (Ezek. xviii. 4.) The death of 
the soul, however, is not like the death of the body; it is far more shocking. For this bodily 
death, separating the soul and the body the one from the other, releases the one from many 
anxieties and toils, and transmits the other into a manifest abode: then when the body has 
been in time dissolved and crumbled away, it is again gathered together in incorruption, 
and receives back its own proper soul. Such we see is this bodily death. But that of the soul 
is awful and terrific. For this death, when dissolution takes place, does not let it pass, as the 
body does, but binds it down again to an imperishable body, and consigns it to the unquench- 
able fire. This then is the death of the soul. And as therefore there is a death of the soul, so 
is there also a slaughter of the soul. What is the slaughter of the body? It is the being turned 
into a corpse, the being stripped of the energy derived from the soul. What is the slaughter 
of the soul? It is its being made a corpse also. And how is the soul made a corpse? Because 
as the body then becomes a corpse when the soul leaves it destitute of its own vital energy, 
so also does the soul then become a corpse, when the Holy Spirit leaves it destitute of His 
spiritual energy. 

Such for the most part are the slaughters made at the altar of covetousness. They are 
not satisfied, they do not stop at men’s blood; no, the altar of covetousness is not glutted, 


385 [As in other places, the text of Field is here incomplete. (toairep yap eotl \]/t>xf|c; Bavaroc, “4'uxn yap r| 
dpapTavouaa,” etc.) It omits the clause, toairep yap eotl atbparoc; Bavaroc;, which is so necessary to the sense 
and which is attested by excellent manuscript authority, and adopted by Savile. — G.A.] 


251 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


unless it sacrifice the very soul itself also, unless it receive the souls of both, the sacrificer 
and the sacrificed. For he who sacrifices must first be sacrificed, and then he sacrifices; and 
the dead sacrifices him who is yet living. For when he utters blasphemies, when he reviles, 
when he is irritated, are not these so many incurable wounds of the soul? 

Thou hast seen that the expression is no hyperbole. Wouldest thou hear again another 
argument, to teach you how covetousness is idolatry, and more shocking than idolatry? Id- 
olaters worship the creatures of God (“for they worshiped,” it is said, “and served the creature 
rather than the Creator”) (Rom. i. 25.); but thou art worshiping a creature of thine own. For 

iQ/r 

God made not covetousness but thine own insatiable appetite invented it. And look at 
the madness and folly. They that worship idols, honor also the idols they worship; and if 
any one speak of them with disrespect or ridicule, they stand up in their defense; whereas 
thou, as if in a sort of intoxication, art worshiping an object, which is so far from being free 
from accusation, that it is even full of impiety. So that thou, even more than they, excellest 
in wickedness. Thou canst never have it to say as an excuse, that it is no evil. If even they 
are in the highest degree without excuse, yet art thou in a far higher, who art forever censuring 
covetousness, and reviling those who devote themselves to it, and who yet doth serve and 
obey it. 

We will examine, if you please, whence idolatry took its rise. A certain wise man (Wisd. 
xiv. 16.) tells us, that a certain rich man afflicted with untimely mourning for his son, and 
having no consolation for his sorrow, consoled his passion in this way: having made a lifeless 
image of the dead, and constantly gazing at it, he seemed through the image to have his de- 
parted one still; whilst certain flatterers, “whose God was their belly” (Philip, iii. 19.), treating 
the image with reverence in order to do him honor, carried on the custom into idolatry. 

So then it took its rise from weakness of soul, from a senseless custom, from extravagance. 
But not so covetousness: from weakness of soul indeed it is, only that it is from a worse 
weakness. It is not that any one has lost a son, nor that he is seeking for consolation in sorrow, 
nor that he is drawn on by flatterers. But how is it? I will tell you. Cain in covetousness 

ooo 

overreached God; what ought to have been given to Him, he kept to himself; what he 
should have kept himself, this he offered to Him; and thus the evil began even from God. 
For if we are God’s, much more are the first-fruits of our possessions. Again, men’s violent 

OOQ 

passion for women arose from covetousness. “They saw the daughters of men” (Gen. vi. 

386 [This seems strained; for it is not true that they worshiped covetousness, a creature of their own, as 
Chrysostom calls it, but they worshiped gold and silver, which are creatures of God. — G.A.] 

387 [This is a rather doubtful and inadequate account of the beginning of idolatry. — G.A.] 

388 oKa& 187-v tov 0eov £7iX£ov£KTqa£v (Comp. 7t\£OV£^ia). 

389 [This is what the text seems to mean (rtaXiv ek; yuvaiKcu; cmb TtXeove^iac; q oppq yeyovev), and he is 
proposing to explain the origin of covetousness (which, by the way, most men need go no further than their 


252 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


2.), and they rushed headlong into lust. And from hence again it went on to money; for the 
wish to have more than one’s neighbor of this world’s goods, arises from no other source, 
than from “love waxing cold.” The wish to have more than one’s share arises from no other 
source than recklessness, misanthropy, and arrogance toward others. Look at the earth, how 
wide is its extent? How far greater than we can use the expanse of the sky and the heaven? 
It is that He might put an end to thy covetousness, that God hath thus widely extended the 
bounds of the creation. And art thou then still grasping and even thus? And dost thou hear 
that covetousness is idolatry, and not shudder even at this? Dost thou wish to inherit the 
earth? Then hast thou no inheritance in heaven. Art thou eager to leave an inheritance to 
others, that thou mayest rob thyself of it? Tell me, if any one were to offer thee power to 
possess all things, wouldest thou be unwilling? It is in thy power now, if thou wilt. Some, 
however, say, that they are grieved when they transmit the inheritance to others, and would 
fain have consumed it themselves, rather than see others become its masters. Nor do I acquit 
thee of this weakness; for this too is characteristic of a weak soul. However, at least let as 
much as this be done. In thy will leave Christ thine heir. It were thy duty indeed to do so in 
thy lifetime, for this would show a right disposition. Still, at all events, be a little generous, 
though it be but by necessity. For Christ indeed charged us to give to the poor with this 
object, to make us wise in our lifetime, to induce us to despise money, to teach us to look 
down upon earthly things. It is no contempt of money, as you think, to bestow it upon this 
man and upon that man when one dies, and is no longer master of it. Thou art then no 
longer giving of thine own, but of absolute necessity: thanks to death, not to thee. This is 
no act of affection, it is thy loss. However, let it be done even thus; at least then give up thy 
passion. 

Moral. Consider how many acts of plunder, how many acts of covetousness, thou hast 
committed. Restore all fourfold. Thus plead thy cause to God. Some, however, there are 
who are arrived at such a pitch of madness and blindness, as not even then to comprehend 
their duty; but who go on acting in all cases, just as if they were taking pains to make the 
judgment of God yet heavier to themselves. This is the reason why our blessed Apostle writes 
and says, “Walk as children of light.” Now the covetous man of all others lives in darkness, 
and spreads great darkness over all things around. 

“And have no fellowship,” he adds, “with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather 
even reprove them; for the things which are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to 
speak of; but all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light.” Hearken, I 
entreat you, all, as many of you as like not to be hated for nothing, but to be loved. “What 
need is there to be hated?” one says. A man commits a robbery, and dost thou not reprove 


own heart to find), and not of lust. Moreover, the following context makes lust a source of covetousness, which 
is true, and not covetousness the source of lust, which is not true. — G.A.] 


253 


Ephesians 5:5,6 


him, but art afraid of his hatred? though this, however, is not being hated for nothing. But 
dost thou justly convict him, and yet fear the hatred? Convict thy brother, incur enmity for 
the love’s sake which thou owest to Christ, for the love’s sake which thou owest to thy 
brother. Arrest him as he is on his road to the pit of destruction. For to admit him to our 
table, to treat him with civil speeches, with salutations, and with entertainments, these are 
no signal proofs of friendship. No, those I have mentioned are the boons which we must 
bestow upon our friends, that we may rescue their souls from the wrath of God. When we 
see them lying prostrate in the furnace of wickedness, let us raise them up. “But,” they say, 
“it is of no use, he is incorrigible.” However, do thou thy duty, and then thou hast excused 
thyself to God. Hide not thy talent. It is for this that thou hast speech, it is for this thou hast 
a mouth and a tongue, that thou mayest correct thy neighbor . 390 It is dumb and reasonless 
creatures only that have no care for their neighbor, and take no account of others. But dost 
thou while calling God, “Father,” and thy neighbor, “brother,” when thou seest him com- 
mitting unnumbered wickednesses, dost thou prefer his good-will to his welfare? No, do 
not so, I entreat you. There is no evidence of friendship so true as never to overlook the sins 
of our brethren. Didst thou see them at enmity? Reconcile them. Didst thou see them guilty 
of covetousness? Check them. Didst thou see them wronged? Stand up in their defense. It 
is not on them, it is on thyself thou art conferring the chief benefit. It is for this we are 
friends, that we may be of use one to another. A man will listen in a different spirit to a 
friend, and to any other chance person. A chance person he will regard perhaps with suspi- 
cion, and so in like manner will he a teacher, but not so a friend. 

“For,” he says, “the things which are done by them in secret it is a shame even to speak 
of: but all things when they are reproved are made manifest by the light.” What is it he means 
to say here? He means this. That some sins in this world are done in secret, and some also 
openly; but in the other it shall not be so. Now there is no one who is not conscious to 
himself of some sin. This is why he says, “But all the things when they are reproved are made 
manifest by the light.” What then? Is this again, it will be said, meant concerning idolatry? 
It is not; the argument is about our life and our sins. “For everything that is made manifest,” 
says he, “is light.” 

Wherefore, I entreat you, be ye never backward to reprove, nor displeased at being re- 

OQ1 

proved. For as long indeed as anything is carried on in the dark, it is carried on with 
greater security; but when it has many to witness what is done, it is brought to light. By all 


390 [Compare John Wesley’s sermon on the “Duty of Reproving our Neighbor,” Works, Vol. II., p. 88 (New 
York ed.), for a thorough and fearless discussion of this difficult duty. — G.A.] 

39 1 [“Better is open rebuke Than love that is hidden. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy 
are profuse.” — Prov. xxvii. 5, 6. “He that rebuketh a man shall afterward find more favor Than he that flattereth with the 
tongue.” — Prov. xxviii. 23. Compare Chrysostom’s I. Homily on Eutropius, Vol. IX., p. 249, this series. — G.A.] 

254 



Ephesians 5:5,6 


means then let us do all we can to chase away the deadness which is in our brethren, to 
scatter the darkness, and to attract to us the “Sun of righteousness.” For if there be many 
shining lights, the path of virtue will be easy to themselves, and they which are in darkness 
will be more easily detected, while the light is held forth and puts the darkness to flight. 
Whereas if it be the reverse, there is fear lest as the thick mist of darkness and of sin over- 
powers the light, and dispels its transparency, those shining lights themselves should be 
extinguished. Let us be then disposed to benefit one another, that one and all, we may offer 
up praise and glory to the God of lovingkindness, by the grace and lovingkindness of the 
only begotten Son with whom to the Father, together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, 
honor now and forever and forever. Amen. 


255 



Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


Homily XIX. 

Ephesians v. 15, 16, 17 

“Look then carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the 
days are evil. Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” 

He is still cleansing away the root of bitterness, still cutting off the very groundwork of 
anger. For what is he saying? “Look carefully how ye walk.” “They are sheep in the midst 
of wolves,” and he charges them to be also “as doves.” For “ye shall be harmless,” saith he, 
“as doves.” (Matt. x. 16.) Forasmuch then as they were both amongst wolves, and were besides 
commanded not to defend themselves, but to suffer evil, they needed this admonition. 
Not indeed but that the former was sufficient to render them stronger; 394 but now that there 
is besides the addition of the two, reflect how exceedingly it is heightened. Observe then 
here also, how carefully he secures them, by saying, “Look how ye walk.” Whole cities were 
at war with them; yea, this war made its way also into houses. They were divided, father 
against son, and son against father, mother against daughter, and daughter against mother. 
What then? Whence these divisions? They heard Christ say, “He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me.” (Matt. x. 37.) Lest therefore they should think 
that he was without reason introducing wars and fightings, (since there was likely to be 
much anger produced, if they on their part were to retaliate,) to prevent this, he says, “See 
carefully how ye walk.” That is to say, “Except the Gospel message, give no other handle 
on any score whatever, for the hatred which you will incur.” Let this be the only ground of 
hatred. Let no one have any other charge to make against you; but show all deference and 
obedience, whenever it does no harm to the message, whenever it does not stand in the way 
of godliness. For it is said, “Render to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute, custom to 
whom custom.” (Rom. xiii. 7.) For when amongst the rest of the world they shall see us 
forbearing, they will be put to shame. 

oq/t 

“Not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming the time.” 


392 [The ohv rather resumes the general directions as to how they are to walk (comp. v. 9.) after the digression 
inver. 11-14. — G.A.] 

393 [The text of Field omits the clause, “they ended this admonition,” leaving the sense obscure and difficult. 
This clause is attested by five codices, and we have inserted it with Savile. — G.A.] 

394 [And with four of these codices we prefer the reading EuaGevEOTEpotx;, “stronger,” to Field’s reading 
da0£V£0T£pouc; (which is “weaker”). — G.A.] 

395 Kf|puypa. 

396 [“This is epexegetical of the preceding words, viewed negatively and positively: ‘presenting yourselves in 
your walk, not as unwise, but as wise.”’ — Meyer. — G.A.] 


256 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


It is not from any wish that you should be artful, and versatile, that he gives this advice. 
But what he means is this. The time is not yours. At present ye are strangers, and sojourners, 
and foreigners, and aliens; seek not honors, seek not glory, seek not authority, nor revenge; 
bear all things, and in this way, redeem the time”; give up many things, anything they 
may require. Imagine now, I say, a man had a magnificent house, and persons were to make 
their way in, on purpose to murder him, and he were to give a large sum, and thus to rescue 
himself. Then we should say, he has redeemed himself. So also hast thou a large house, and 
a true faith in thy keeping. They will come to take all away. Give whatever they may demand, 
only preserve the principal thing, I mean the faith. 

“Because the days,” saith he, “are evil.” 

What is the evil of the day? The evil of the day ought to belong to the day. What is the 
evil of a body? Disease. And what again the evil of the soul? Wickedness. What is the evil 
of water? Bitterness. And the evil of each particular thing, is with reference to that nature 
of it which is affected by the evil. If then there is an evil in the day, it ought to belong to the 
day, to the hours, to the day-light. So also Christ saith, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil 
thereof.” (Matt. vi. 34.) And from this expression we shall understand the other. In what 
sense then does he call “the days evil”? In what sense the “time” evil? It is not the essence of 
the thing, not the things as so created, but it is the things transacted in them. In the same 

OQO 

way as we are in the habit of saying, “I have passed a disagreeable and wretched day.” 
And yet how could it be disagreeable, except from the circumstances which took place in 
it? Now the events which take place in it are, good things from God, but evil things from 
bad men. So then of the evils which happen in the times, men are the creators, and hence 
it is that the times are said to be evil. And thus we also call the times evil. 

Ver. 17, 18. “Wherefore,” 399 he adds, “be ye not foolish, but understand what the will 
of the Lord is; and be not drunk with wine, wherein is riot.” 

For indeed intemperance in this renders men passionate and violent, and hot-headed, 
and irritable and savage. Wine has been given us for cheerfulness, not for drunkenness. 
Whereas now it appears to be an unmanly and contemptible thing for a man not to get 
drunk. And what sort of hope then is there of salvation? What? contemptible, tell me, not 
to get drunk, where to get drunk ought of all things in the world to be most contemptible? 


397 [Or rather, “buying up for yourselves the opportunity”: a participial clause, which gives a modal definition 
to the preceding tb(;aocpoL, “as wise.” “In this figurative conception the doing of that for which the point of time 
is fitted is thought of as the ‘purchase-price by which the Kcupoc; becomes ours.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

398 [Compare on Gal. i. 4. “This clause, ‘because the days are evil,’ supplies a motive for buying up the oppor- 
tunity, namely, because moral corruption is now in vogue.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

399 [“This ‘wherefore’ refers to verses 15, 16. For this cause, i.e., because ye ought to walk with such exactness, 
become not such as do not use the mind aright.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


257 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


For it is of all things right for even a private individual to keep himself far from drunkenness; 
but how much more so for a soldier, a man who lives amongst swords, and bloodshed, and 
slaughter: much more, I say, for the soldier, when his temper is sharpened by other causes 
also, by power, by authority, by being constantly in the midst of stratagems and battles. 
Wouldest thou know where wine is good? Hear what the Scripture saith, “Give strong drink 
unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul.” (Prov. xxxi. 6.) And justly, 
because it can mitigate asperity and gloominess, and drive away clouds from the brow. 
“Wine maketh glad the heart of man” (Ps. civ. 15.), says the Psalmist. How then does wine 
produce drunkenness? For it cannot be that one and the same thing should work opposite 
effects. Drunkenness then surely does not arise from wine, but from intemperance. Wine 
is bestowed upon us for no other purpose than for bodily health; but this purpose also is 
thwarted by immoderate use. But hear moreover what our blessed Apostle writes and says 
to Timothy, “Use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and thine often infirmities.” 400 

This is the reason why God has formed our bodies in moderate proportions, and so as 
to be satisfied with a little, from thence at once instructing us that He has made us adapted 
to another life. And that life He would fain have bestowed upon us even from the very be- 
ginning; but since we rendered ourselves unworthy of it, He deferred it; and in the time 
during which He deferred it, not even in that does He allow us immoderate indulgence; for 
a little cup of wine and a single loaf is enough to satisfy a man’s hunger. And man the lord 
of all the brute creation has He formed so as to require less food in proportion than they, 
and his body small; thereby declaring to us nothing else than this, that we are hastening 
onward to another life. “Be not drunk,” says he, “with wine, wherein is riot”; for it does not 
save 401 but it destroys; and that, not the body only, but the soul also. 

Ver. 18, 19, 20, 21. “But be filled 402 with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms 
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 
giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God even the 
Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” 

Dost thou wish, he says, to be cheerful, dost thou wish to employ the day? I give thee 
spiritual drink; for drunkenness even cuts off the articulate sound of our tongue; it makes 
us lisp and stammer, and distorts the eyes, and the whole frame together. Learn to sing 
psalms, and thou shalt see the delightfulness of the employment. For they who sing psalms 


400 1 Tim. v. 23. Cf. Vol. IX., 335. 

401 [atb(£i: suggested by the word aauma (“riot”) which immediately precedes, and which is derived from 
atb(o). Compare aauma in Thayer’s N. T. Lexicon. — G.A.] 

402 [“The imperative passive finds its explanation in the possibility of resistance to the Holy Spirit. The contrast 
does not lie in olvoc; (wine) and Ttveupa (spirit), otherwise these words would have stood at the beginning of 
their clauses, but in the two states, — that of intoxication and that of inspiration.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


258 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


are filled with the Holy Spirit, as they who sing satanic songs are filled with an unclean 
spirit. 

What is meant by “with your hearts to the Lord”? It means, with close attention and 
understanding. For they who do not attend closely, merely sing, uttering the words, whilst 
their heart is roaming elsewhere. 

“Always,” he says, “giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ 
unto God even the Father, subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” 

That is, “let your requests be made known unto God, with thanksgiving” (Philip, iv. 6.); 
for there is nothing so pleasing to God, as for a man to be thankful. But we shall be best able 
to give thanks unto God, by withdrawing our souls from the things before mentioned, and 
by thoroughly cleansing them by the means he has told us. 

“But be filled,” says he, “with the Spirit.” 

And is then this Spirit within us? Yes, indeed, within us. For when we have driven away 
lying, and bitterness, and fornication, and uncleanness, and covetousness, from our souls, 
when we are become kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, when there is no jesting, 
when we have rendered ourselves worthy of it, what is there to hinder the Holy Spirit from 
coming and lighting upon us? And not only will He come unto us, but He will fill our hearts; 
and when we have so great a light kindled within us, then will the way of virtue be no longer 
difficult to attain, but will be easy and simple. 

“Giving thanks always,” 403 he says, “for all things.” 

What then? Are we to give thanks for everything that befalls us? Yes; be it even disease, 
be it even penury. For if a certain wise man gave this advice in the Old Testament, and said, 
“Whatsoever is brought upon thee take cheerfully, and be patient when thou art changed 
to a low estate” (Ecclus. ii. 4.); much more ought this to be the case in the New. Yes, even 
though thou know not the word, give thanks. For this is thanksgiving. But if thou give thanks 
when thou art in comfort and in affluence, in success and in prosperity, there is nothing 
great, nothing wonderful in that. What is required is, for a man to give thanks when he is 
in afflictions, in anguish, in discouragements. Utter no word in preference to this, “Lord, I 
thank thee.” And why do I speak of the afflictions of this world? It is our duty to give God 
thanks, even for hell 404 itself, for the torments and punishments of the next world. For 
surely it is a thing beneficial to those who attend to it, when the dread of hell is laid like a 
bridle on our hearts. Let us therefore give thanks not only for blessings which we see, but 



403 [“This ‘giving thanks always,’ etc., is a third modal definition of the ‘Be filled with the spirit,’ likewise 
coordinate with the two preceding ones, bringing into prominence, — after the general ‘singing of praise’ of ver. 
19, which is to take place audibly, as well as in the heart, — further and in particular, the ‘thanksgiving’ which 
the readers have always for all things to render to God.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

404 [Meyer says the context limits mxvTtov to “blessings.” — G.A.] 


259 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


also for those which we see not, and for those which we receive against our will. For many 
are the blessings He bestows upon us, without our desire, without our knowledge. And if 
ye believe me not, I will at once proceed to make the case clear to you. For consider, I pray, 
do not the impious and unbelieving Gentiles ascribe everything to the sun and to their idols? 
But what then? Doth He not bestow blessings even upon them? Is it not the work of His 
providence, that they both have life, and health, and children, and the like? And again they 
that are called Marcionites, 405 and the Manichees, do they not even blaspheme Him? But 
what then? Does He not bestow blessings on them every day? Now if He bestows blessings 
on them that know them not, much more does he bestow them upon us. For what else is 
the peculiar work of God if it be not this, to do good to all mankind, alike by chastisements 
and by enjoyments? Let us not then give thanks only when we are in prosperity, for there 
is nothing great in this. And this the devil also well knows, and therefore he said, “Doth Job 
fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made an hedge about him and about all that he hath 
on every side? Touch all that he hath; no doubt, he will renounce Thee to Thy face!” (Job i. 
10, 1 1.) However, that cursed one gained no advantage; and God forbid he should gain any 
advantage of us either; but whenever we are either in penury, or in sicknesses, or in disasters, 
then let us increase our thanksgiving; thanksgiving, I mean, not in words, nor in tongue, 
but in deeds and works, in mind and in heart. Let us give thanks unto Him with all our 
souls. For He loves us more than our parents; and wide as is the difference between evil and 
goodness, so great is the difference between the love of God and that of our fathers. And 
these are not my words, but those of Christ Himself Who loveth us. And hear what He 
Himself saith, “What man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give 
him a stone? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how 
much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” 
(Matt. vii. 9, 11.) And again, bear what He saith also elsewhere: “Can a woman forget her 
sucking child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may 
forget, yet will not I forget thee, saith the Lord.” (Isa. xlix. 15.) For if He loveth us not, 
wherefore did He create us? Had He any necessity? Do we supply to Him any ministry and 
service? Needeth He anything that we can render? Hear what the Prophet says; “I have said 
unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord, I have no good beyond Thee.” (Ps. xvi. 2.) 

The ungrateful, however, and unfeeling say, that this were worthy of God’s goodness, 
that there should be an equality amongst all. Tell me, ungrateful mortal, what sort of things 
are they which thou deniest to be of God’s goodness, and what equality meanest thou? “Such 
an one,” thou wilt say, “has been a cripple from his childhood; another is mad, and is pos- 
sessed; another has arrived at extreme old age, and has spent his whole life in poverty; an- 


405 [On these heretics and their doctrines, see Vol. IX. (this series) p. 65 (notes 3 and 5), and p. 205, second 
column. — G.A.] 


260 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


other in the most painful diseases: are these works of Providence? One man is deaf, another 
dumb, another poor, whilst another, impious, yea, utterly impious, and full of ten thousand 
vices, enjoys wealth, and keeps concubines, and parasites, and is owner of a splendid mansion, 
and lives an idle life .” 406 And many instances of the sort they string together, and weave a 
long account of complaint against the providence of God. 

What then are we to say to them? Now if they were Greeks, and were to tell us that the 
universe is governed by some one or other, we should in turn address to them the self-same 
words, “What then, are things without a providence? How then is it that ye reverence gods, 
and worship genii and heroes? For if there is a providence, some one or other superintends 
the whole.” But if any, whether Christians or Heathen, should be impatient at this, and be 
wavering, what shall we say to them? “Why, could so many good things, tell me, arise of 
themselves? The daily light? The beautiful order and the forethought that exist in all things? 
The mazy dances of the stars? The equable course of nights and days? The regular gradation 
of nature in vegetables, and animals, and men? Who, tell me, is it that ordereth these? If 
there were no superintending Being, but all things combined together of themselves, who 
then was it that made this vault revolve, so beautiful, so vast, I mean the sky, and set it upon 
the earth, nay more, upon the waters? Who is it that gives the fruitful seasons? Who implanted 
so great power in seeds and vegetables? For that which is accidental is necessarily disorderly; 
whereas that which is orderly implies design. For which, tell me, of the things around us 
that are accidental, is not full of great disorder, and of great tumult and confusion? Nor do 
I speak of things accidental only, but of those also which imply some agent, but an unskillful 
agent. For example, let there be timber and stone, and let there be lime withal; and let a man 
unskilled in building take them, and begin building, and set hard to work; will he not spoil 
and destroy everything? Again, take a vessel without a pilot, containing everything which 
a vessel ought to contain, without a shipwright; I do not say that it is unequipped and unfin- 
ished, but though well equipped, it will not be able to sail. And could the vast extent of earth 
standing on the waters, tell me, ever stand so firmly, and so long a time, without some power 
to hold it together ? 407 And can these views have any reason? Is it not the extreme of absurdity 
to conceive such a notion? And if the earth supports the heaven, behold another burden 
still; but if the heaven also is borne upon the waters, there arises again another question. Or 


406 [This difficulty is as old as David. Chrysostom does not here suggest David’s solution of the problem, — the 
spiritual compensations here and hereafter. And Paul could say even to a slave in his day, “Wast thou called 
being a slave? Care not for it. Nay, if thou art even able to be free, make use of thy having been called as a slave, 
rather than accept thy freedom.” (1 Cor. vii. 21.) And even Epictetus said something similar. A little below, 
Chrysostom touches this higher Theodicy: “One thing alone is evil; that is, to sin.” — G.A.] 

407 [On Chrysostom’s geography and astronomy, see Homily IX., Concerning the Statues, Vol. IX. of this 
series, pp. 403, 404, with notes by Rev. W. R. W. Stevens, M.A. Compare Ps. xxiv. 2. — G.A.] 


261 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


rather not another question, for it is the work of providence. For things which are borne 
upon the water ought not to be made convex, but concave. Wherefore? Because the whole 
body of anything which is concave is immersed in the waters, as is the case with a ship; 
whereas of the convex the body is entirely above, and only the rim rests upon the surface; 
so that it requires a resisting body, hard, and able to sustain it, in order to bear the burden 
imposed. But does the atmosphere then support the heaven? Why, that is far softer, and 
more yielding even than water, and cannot sustain anything, no, not the very lightest things, 
much less so vast a bulk. In fine, if we chose to follow out the argument of providence, both 
generally and in detail, time itself would fail us. For I will now ask him who would start 
those questions above mentioned, are these things the result of providence, or of the want 
of providence? And if he shall say, that they are not from providence, then again I will ask, 
how then did they arise? But no, he will never be able to give any account at all. And dost 
thou not know that? 

Much more then is it thy duty not to question, not to be over curious, in those things 
which concern man. And why not? Because man is nobler than all these, and these were 
made for his sake, not he for their sake. If then thou knowest not so much as the skill and 
contrivance that are visible in His providence, how shalt thou be able to know the reasons, 
where he himself is the subject? Tell me, I pray, why did God form him so small, so far below 
the height of heaven, as that he should even doubt of the things which appear above him? 
Why are the northern and southern climes uninhabitable? Tell me, I say, why is the night 
made longer in winter and shorter in summer? Why are the degrees of cold and heat such 
as they are? Why is the body mortal? And ten thousand questions besides I will ask thee, 
and if thou wilt, will never cease asking. And in one and all thou wilt surely be at a loss to 
answer. And thus is this of all things most providential, that the reasons of things are kept 
secret from us. For surely, one would have imagined man to be the cause of all things, were 
there not this to humble our understanding. 

“But such an one,” you will say, “is poor, and poverty is an evil. And what is it to be sick, 
and what is it to be crippled?” Oh, man, they are nothing . 408 One thing alone is evil, that is 
to sin; this is the only thing we ought to search to the bottom. And yet we omit to search 
into the causes of what are really evils, and busy ourselves about other things. Why is it that 
not one of us ever examines why he has sinned? To sin, — is it then in my power, or is it not 
in my power? And why need I go round about me for a number of reasons? I will seek for 


408 [Compare what is said by Epictetus concerning his own lameness: “Shall I then, because of one miserable 
little leg, find fault with the universe? Shall I not concede that accident to the existence of general laws, and 
cheerfully assent to it for the sake of him who gave it?” And again, concerning his slavery: “He is a slave whose 
body is free, but whose soul is bound; and on the contrary, he is free whose body is bound, but whose soul is 
free.” — G.A.] 


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the matter within myself. Now then did I ever master my wrath? Did I ever master my anger, 
either through shame, or through fear of man? Then whenever I discover this done, I shall 
discover that to sin is in my own power. No one examines these matters, no one busies 
himself about them. But only according to Job, “Man in a way altogether different swims 
upon words .” 409 For why does it concern thee, if such an one is blind, or such an one poor? 
God hath not commanded thee to look to this, but to what thou thyself art doing. For if on 
the one hand thou doubtest that there is any power superintending the world, thou art of 
all men the most senseless; but if thou art persuaded of this, why doubt that it is our duty 
to please God? 

“Giving thanks always,” he says, “for all things to God.” 

Go to the physician’s, and thou wilt see him, whenever a man is discovered to have a 
wound, using the knife and the cautery. But no, in thy case, I say not so much as this; but 
go to the carpenter’s. And yet thou dost not examine his reasons, although thou understandest 
not one of the things which are done there, and many things will appear to thee to be diffi- 
culties; as, for instance, when he hollows the wood, when he alters its outward shape. Nay, 
I would bring thee to a more intelligible craft still, for instance, that of the painter, and there 
thy head will swim. For tell me, does he not seem to be doing what he does, at random? For 
what do his lines mean, and the turns and bends of the lines? But when he puts on the colors, 
then the beauty of the art will become conspicuous. Yet still, not even then wilt thou be able 
to attain to any accurate understanding of it. But why do I speak of carpenters, and painters, 
our fellow-servants? Tell me, how does the bee frame her comb, and then shalt thou speak 
about God also. Master the handiwork of the ant, the spider, and the swallow, and then shalt 
thou speak about God also. Tell me these things. But no, thou never canst. Wilt thou not 
cease then, O man, thy vain enquiries? For vain indeed they are. Wilt thou not cease busying 
thyself in vain about many things? Nothing so wise as this ignorance, where they that profess 
they know nothing are wisest of all, and they that spend overmuch labor on these questions, 
the most foolish of all. So that to profess knowledge is not everywhere a sign of wisdom, but 
sometimes of folly also. For tell me, suppose there were two men, and one of them should 
profess to stretch out his lines, and to measure the expanse that intervenes between the earth 
and heaven, and the other were to laugh at him, and declare that he did not understand it, 
tell me, I pray, which should we laugh at, him that said he knew, or him that knew not? 
Evidently, the man that said that he knew. He that is ignorant, therefore, is wiser than he 
that professes to know . 410 And what again? If any one were to profess to tell us how many 
cups of water the sea contains, and another should profess his ignorance, is not the ignorance 


409 [Job xi. 12, the Sept.: dvGptortoc 81 aXXtoc; vestal Xoyou;; but the Rev. Ver., after the Hebrew, has: “Vain 
man is void of understanding.” — G.A.] 

410 [A striking oxymoron. Compare the Greek, ocryvotov tou UTtoaxopevou EiSevcu aocptbrspoc;. — G.A.] 


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here again wiser than the knowledge? 411 Surely, vastly so. And why so? Because that 
knowledge itself is but intense ignorance. For he indeed who says that he is ignorant, knows 
something. And what is that? That it is incomprehensible to man. 412 Yes, and this is no 
small portion of knowledge. Whereas he that says he knows, he of all others knows not what 
he says he knows, and is for this very reason utterly ridiculous. 

Moral. Alas! how many things are there to teach us to bridle this unseasonable imper- 
tinence and idle curiosity; and yet we refrain not, but are curious about the lives of others; 
as, why one is a cripple, and why another is poor. And so by this way of reasoning we shall 
fall into another sort of trifling which is endless, as, why such an one is a woman? and, why 
all are not men? why there is such a thing as an ass? why an ox? why a dog? why a wolf? why 
a stone? why wood? and thus the argument will run out to an interminable length. This in 
truth is the reason, why God has marked out limits to our knowledge, and has laid them 
deep in nature. And mark, now, the excess of this busy curiosity. For though we look up to 
so great a height as from earth to heaven, and are not at all affected by it; yet as soon as ever 
we go up to the top of a lofty tower, and have a mind to stoop over a little, and look down, 
a sort of giddiness and dizziness immediately seizes us. Now, tell me the reason of this. No, 
thou couldest never find out a reason for it. Why is it that the eye possesses greater power 
than other senses, and is caught by more distant objects? And one might see it by compar- 
ison with the case of hearing. For no one will ever be able to shout so loudly, as to fill the 
air as far as the eye can reach, nor to hear at so great a distance. Why are not all the members 
of equal honor? Why have not all received one function and one place? Paul also searched 
into these questions; or rather he did not search into them, for he was wise; but where he 
comes by chance upon this topic, he says, “Each one of them, hath God set even as it hath 
pleased Him.” (1 Cor. xii. 18.) He assigns the whole to His will. And so then let us only “give 
thanks for all things.” “Wherefore,” says he, “give thanks for all things.” This is the part of 
a well-disposed, of a wise, of an intelligent servant; the opposite is that of a tattler, and an 
idler, and a busy-body. Do we not see amongst servants, that those among them who are 
worthless and good for nothing, are both tattlers, and triflers and that they pry into the 
concerns of their masters, which they are desirous to conceal: whereas the intelligent and 
well-disposed look to one thing only, how they may fulfill their service. He that says much, 
does nothing: as he that does much, never says a word out of season. Hence Paul said, where 
he wrote concerning widows, “And they learn not only to be idle, but tattlers also.” (1 Tim. 
v. 13.) Tell me, now, which is the widest difference, between our age and that of children, 
or between God and men? between ourselves compared with gnats, or God compared with 
us? Plainly between God and us. Why then dost thou busy thyself to such an extent in all 


411 [Compare the Greek again: oi> 7taXiv r| ayvoia rfp; £iSr|a£U)(; eotl aocptoTEpa; — G.A.] 

412 [Compare, Unum scio, quod nihil scio. — G.A.] 


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these questions? “Give thanks for all things.” “But what,” say you, “if a heathen should ask 
the question? How am I to answer him? He desires to learn from me whether there is a 
Providence, for he himself denies that there is any being thus exercising foresight.” Turn 
round then, and ask him the same question thyself. He will deny therefore that there is a 
Providence. Yet that there is a Providence, is plain from what thou hast said; but that it is 
incomprehensible, is plain from those things whereof we cannot discover the reason. For 
if in things where men are the disposers, we oftentimes do not understand the method of 
the disposition, and in truth many of them appear to us inconsistent, and yet at the same 
time we acquiesce, how much more will this be so in the case of God? However, with God 
nothing either is inconsistent, or appears so to the faithful. Wherefore let us “give thanks 
for all things,” let us give Him glory for all things. 

“Subjecting 413 yourselves one to another,” he says, “in the fear of Christ.” For if thou 
submit thyself for a ruler’s sake, or for money’s sake, or from respectfulness, much more 
from the fear of Christ. Let there be an interchange of service and submission. For then will 
there be no such thing as slavish service. Let not one sit down in the rank of a freeman, and 
the other in the rank of a slave; rather it were better that both masters and slaves be servants 
to one another; — far better to be a slave in this way than free in any other; as will be evident 
from hence. Suppose the case of a man who should have an hundred slaves, and he should 
in no way serve them; and suppose again a different case, of an hundred friends, all waiting 
upon one another. Which will lead the happier life? Which with the greater pleasure, with 
the more enjoyment? In the one case there is no anger, no provocation, no wrath, nor any- 
thing else of the kind whatever; in the other all is fear and apprehension. In the one case too 
the whole is forced, in the other is of free choice. In the one case they serve one another be- 
cause they are forced to do so, in the other with mutual gratification. Thus does God will it 
to be; for this He washed His disciples’ feet. Nay more, if thou hast a mind to examine the 
matter nicely, there is indeed on the part of masters a return of service. For what if pride 
suffer not that return of service to appear? Yet if the slave on the one hand render his bodily 
service, and thou maintain that body, and supply it with food and clothing and shoes, this 
is an exchange of service: because unless thou render thy service as well, neither will he 
render his, but will be free, and no law will compel him to do it if he is not supported. If this 
then is the case with servants, where is the absurdity, if it should also become the case with 
free men. “Subjecting yourselves in the fear,” saith he, “of Christ .” 414 How great then the 

413 [“The words ‘subjecting yourselves one to another’ still belong to ver. 20 as a fourth modal definition of 
‘Be filled with the Spirit,’ and are parallel to ‘giving thanks for all things to God,’ thus adding to this relation 
toward God the ‘mutual’ relation towards ‘one another.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

414 [Not the fear of “God,” as Chrysostom, the textus receptus and the Authorized Eng. Version have, but 
the fear of “Christ” (as Rev. Ver., Westcott and Hort, and all trustworthy authorities). That is, Christ is to be 


265 


Ephesians 5:15,16,17 


obligation, when we shall also have a reward. But he does not choose to submit himself to 
thee? However do thou submit thyself; not simply yield, but submit thyself. Entertain this 
feeling towards all, as if all were thy masters. For thus shalt thou soon have all as thy slaves, 
enslaved to thee with the most abject slavery. For thou wilt then more surely make them 
thine, when without receiving anything of theirs, thou of thyself renderest them of thine 
own. This is “subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ,” in order that we 
may subdue all the passions, be servants of God, and preserve the love we owe to one another. 
And then shall we be able also to be counted worthy of the lovingkindness which cometh 
of God, through the grace and mercies of His only-begotten Son, with whom to the Father, 
together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, might, honor, now and forever and ever. Amen. 


“feared” as the “Judge” (Meyer). Cornelius a Lapide (in Ellicott) says: “Because we reverence Christ and ‘fear’ 
to offend him”: quia scilicet Christum reveremur eumque timemus offendere. — G.A.] 


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Homily XX. 

Ephesians v. 22-24 

“Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the 
head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the Church: being Himself the Saviour of the 
body. But as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives also be to their husbands in 
everything. 

A certain wise man, setting down a number of things in the rank of blessings, set down 
this also in the rank of a blessing, “A wife agreeing with her husband.” (Ecclus. xxv. 1.) And 
elsewhere again he sets it down among blessings, that a woman should dwell in harmony 
with her husband. (Ecclus. xl. 23.) And indeed from the beginning, God appears to have 
made special provision for this union; and discoursing of the twain as one, He said thus, 
“Male and female created He them” (Gen. i. 27.); and again, “There is neither male nor fe- 
male.” (Gal. iii. 28.) For there is no relationship between man and man so close as that 
between man and wife, if they be joined together as they should be. And therefore a certain 
blessed man too, when he would express surpassing love, and was mourning for one that 
was dear to him, and of one soul with him, did not mention father, nor mother, nor child, 
nor brother, nor friend, but what? “Thy love to me was wonderful,” saith he, “passing the 
love of women.” (2 Sam. i. 26.) For indeed, in very deed, this love is more despotic than any 
despotism: for others indeed maybe strong, but this passion is not only strong, but unfading. 
For there is a certain love deeply seated in our nature, which imperceptibly to ourselves 
knits together these bodies of ours. Thus even from the very beginning woman sprang from 
man, and afterwards from man and woman sprang both man and woman. 415 Perceivest 
thou the close bond and connection? And how that God suffered not a different kind of 
nature to enter in from without? And mark, how many providential arrangements He made. 
He permitted the man to marry his own sister; or rather not his sister, but his daughter; nay, 
nor yet his daughter, but something more than his daughter, even his own flesh. 416 And 
thus the whole He framed from one beginning, gathering all together, like stones in a 
building, into one. For neither on the one hand did He form her from without, and this was 
that the man might not feel towards her as towards an alien; nor again did He confine 
marriage to her, 417 that she might not, by contracting herself, 418 and making all center in 


415 [Compare what Paul says in 1 Cor. xi. 8 and 12. — G.A.] 

416 [He refers to Adam’s marrying Eve. — G.A.] 

417 [That is, he did not confine marriage to woman with woman. — G.A.] 

418 [There is another reading which applies these words to the man, as follows: ouoteXXcov eciutov kcil 
ouvaytov, “that he might not, by contracting himself and making all center in himself, be cut off from the rest,” 
instead of auoTeXXouaa, etc. — G.A.] 


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Ephesians 5:22-24 


herself, be cut off from the rest. Thus as in the case of plants, they are of all others the best, 
which have but a single stem, and spread out into a number of branches; (since were all 
confined to the root alone, all would be to no purpose, whereas again had it a number of 
roots, the tree would be no longer worthy of admiration;) so, I say, is the case here also. 
From one, namely Adam, He made the whole race to spring, preventing them by the strongest 
necessity from being ever torn asunder, or separated; and afterwards, making it more restric- 
ted, He no longer allowed sisters and daughters to be wives, lest we should on the other 
hand contract our love to one point, and thus in another manner be cut off from one another. 
Hence Christ said, “He which made them from the beginning, made them male and female.” 
(Matt. xix. 4.) 

For great evils are hence produced, and great benefits, both to families and to states. 
For there is nothing which so welds our life together as the love of man and wife. For this 
many will lay aside even their arms, 419 for this they will give up life itself. And Paul would 
never without a reason and without an object have spent so much pains on this subject, as 
when he says here, “Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” 
And why so? Because when they are in harmony, the children are well brought up, and the 
domestics are in good order, and neighbors, and friends, and relations enjoy the fragrance. 
But if it be otherwise, all is turned upside down, and thrown into confusion. And just as 
when the generals of an army are at peace one with another, all things are in due subordin- 
ation, whereas on the other hand, if they are at variance, everything is turned upside down; 
so, I say, is it also here. Wherefore, saith he, “Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, 
as unto the Lord.” 

Yet how strange! for how then is it, that it is said elsewhere, “If one bid not farewell both 
to wife and to husband, he cannot follow me”? (Luke xiv. 26.) For if it is their duty to be in 
subjection “as unto the Lord,” how saith He that they must depart from them for the Lord’s 
sake? Yet their duty indeed it is, their bounden duty. But the word “as” is not necessarily 
and universally expressive of exact equality. He either means this, “‘as’ knowing that ye are 
servants to the Lord”; (which, by the way, is what he says elsewhere, that, even though they 
do it not for the husband’s sake, yet must they primarily for the Lord’s sake;) or else he 
means, “when thou obeyest thy husband, do so as serving the Lord.” 420 For if he who resisteth 
these external authorities, those of governments, I mean, “withstandeth the ordinance of 
God” (Rom. xiii. 2.), much more does she who submits not herself to her husband. Such 
was God’s will from the beginning. 


419 oitXa. 

420 [“ax; expresses the mode of view in which the wives are to regard their obedience towards their husbands, 
namely, ‘as rendered to the Lord.’” — Meyer. In Luke xiv. 26 the absolute is put for the relative, as elsewhere often, 
and this explains our author’s difficulty. — G.A.] 


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Let us take as our fundamental position then that the husband occupies the place of the 
“head,” and the wife the place of the “body.” 

Ver. 23, 24. Then, he proceeds with arguments and says that “the husband is the head 
of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the Church, being Himself the Saviour of the body. 
But 421 as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in everything.” 
Then after saying, “The husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is of the Church,” 
he further adds, “and He is the Saviour of the body.” For indeed the head is the saving health 
of the body. He had already laid down beforehand for man and wife, the ground and provi- 
sion of their love, assigning to each their proper place, to the one that of authority and 
forethought, to the other that of submission. As then “the Church,” that is, both husbands 
and wives, “is subject unto Christ, so also ye wives submit yourselves to your husbands, as 
unto God.” 

Ver. 25. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.” 

Thou hast heard how great the submission; thou hast extolled and marvelled at Paul, 
how, like an admirable and spiritual man, he welds together our whole life. Thou didst well. 
But now hear what he also requires at thy hands; for again he employs the same example. 
“Husbands,” saith he, “love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church.” 

Thou hast seen the measure of obedience, hear also the measure of love. Wouldest 
thou have thy wife obedient unto thee, as the Church is to Christ? Take then thyself the 
same provident care for her, as Christ takes for the Church. Yea, even if it shall be needful 
for thee to give thy life for her, yea, and to be cut into pieces ten thousand times, yea, and 
to endure and undergo any suffering whatever, — refuse it not. Though thou shouldest un- 
dergo all this, yet wilt thou not, no, not even then, have done anything like Christ. For thou 
indeed art doing it for one to whom thou art already knit; but He for one who turned her 
back on Him and hated Him. In the same way then as He laid at His feet her who turned 
her back on Him, who hated, and spurned, and disdained Him, not by menaces, nor by vi- 
olence, nor by terror, nor by anything else of the kind, but by his unwearied affection; so 
also do thou behave thyself toward thy wife. Yea, though thou see her looking down upon 
thee, and disdaining, and scorning thee, yet by thy great thoughtfulness for her, by affection, 
by kindness, thou wilt be able to lay her at thy feet. For there is nothing more powerful to 
sway than these bonds, and especially for husband and wife. A servant, indeed, one will be 
able, perhaps, to bind down by fear; nay not even him, for he will soon start away and be 


421 [This “but” is by no means easy of explanation, but probably is to be understood thus: He is the saviour 
of the body that man certainly is not, “but, nevertheless,” as the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives be to 
their husbands, etc. — Ellicott, Meyer, Bengel, Calvin, and Alford. — G.A.] 

422 [“If you put all the arguments of orators together, you will not persuade husband and wife to mutual af- 
fection as Paul does in this place.” — Bugenhagen, quoted by Meyer. — G.A.] 


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gone. But the partner of one’s life, the mother of one’s children, the foundation of one’s 
every joy, one ought never to chain down by fear and menaces, but with love and good 
temper. For what sort of union is that, where the wife trembles at her husband? And what 
sort of pleasure will the husband himself enjoy, if he dwells with his wife as with a slave, and 
not as with a free-woman? Yea, though thou shouldest suffer anything on her account, do 
not upbraid her; for neither did Christ do this. 

Ver. 26. “And gave Himself up,” he says, “for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it.” 

So then she was unclean! So then she had blemishes, so then she was unsightly, so then 
she was worthless! Whatsoever kind of wife thou shalt take, yet shalt thou never take such 
a bride as the Church, when Christ took her, nor one so far removed from thee as the Church 
was from Christ. And yet for all that, He did not abhor her, nor loathe her for her surpassing 
deformity. Wouldest thou hear her deformity described? Hear what Paul saith, “For ye were 
once darkness.” (Eph. v. 8.) Didst thou see the blackness of her hue? What blacker than 
darkness? But look again at her boldness, “living,” saith he, “in malice and envy.” (Tit. iii. 
3.) Look again at her impurity; “disobedient, foolish.” But what am I saying? She was both 
foolish, and of an evil tongue; and yet notwithstanding, though so many were her blemishes, 
yet did He give Himself up for her in her deformity, as for one in the bloom of youth, as for 
one dearly beloved, as for one of wonderful beauty. And it was in admiration of this that 
Paul said, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die (Rom. v. 7.); and again, “in that 
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. v. 8.) And though such as this, He took 
her, He arrayed her in beauty, and washed her, and refused not even this, to give Himself 
for her. 

Ver. 26,27. “That He might sanctify it having cleansed it,” he proceeds, “by the washing 
of water with the word; that He might present the Church to Himself a glorious Church, 
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without 
blemish.” 

“By the washing or laver” He washeth her uncleanness. “By the word,” saith he. What 
word? “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt, xxviii. 
19.) And not simply hath He adorned her, but hath made her “glorious, not having spot, or 
wrinkle, or any such thing.” Let us then also seek after this beauty ourselves, and we shall 
be able to create it. Seek not thou at thy wife’s hand, things which she is not able to possess. 
Seest thou that the Church had all things at her Lord’s hands? By Him was made glorious, 
by Him was made pure, by Him made without blemish? Turn not thy back on thy wife be- 
cause of her deformity. Hear the Scripture that saith, “The bee is little among such as fly, 


423 [‘“The word’ (pf||ra) does not mean here the ‘baptismal formula,’ as Chrysostom holds, but ‘the gospel,’ 
and here stands without the article, because, denoting ‘the word’ kcit’ e^oxnv, it could be treated as a proper 
noun, as vopoc, &c. All special interpretations, except that of ‘gospel,’ are purely invented.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

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but her fruit is the chief of sweet things.” 424 (Ecclus. xi. 3.) She is of God’s fashioning. Thou 
reproachest not her, but Him that made her; what can the woman do? Praise her not for 
her beauty. Praise and hatred and love based on personal beauty belong to unchastened 
souls. Seek thou for beauty of soul. Imitate the Bridegroom of the Church. Outward beauty 
is full of conceit and great license, and throws men into jealousy, and the thing often makes 
thee suspect monstrous things. But has it any pleasure? For the first or second month, per- 
haps, or at most for the year: but then no longer; the admiration by familiarity wastes away. 
Meanwhile the evils which arose from the beauty still abide, the pride, the folly, the contemp- 
tuousness. Whereas in one who is not such, there is nothing of this kind. But the love having 
begun on just grounds, still continues ardent, since its object is beauty of soul, and not of 
body. What better, tell me, than heaven? What better than the stars? Tell me of what body 
you will, yet is there none so fair. Tell me of what eyes you will, yet are there none so 
sparkling. When these were created, the very Angels gazed with wonder, and we gaze with 
wonder now; yet not in the same degree as at first. Such is familiarity; things do not strike 
us in the same degree. How much more in the case of a wife! And if moreover disease come 
too, all is at once fled. Let us seek in a wife affectionateness, modest-mindedness, gentleness; 
these are the characteristics of beauty. But loveliness of person let us not seek, nor upbraid 
her upon these points, over which she has no power, nay, rather, let us not upbraid at all, 
(it were rudeness,) nor let us be impatient, nor sullen. Do ye not see how many, after living 
with beautiful wives, have ended their lives pitiably, and how many, who have lived with 
those of no great beauty, have run on to extreme old age with great enjoyment. Let us wipe 
off the “spot” that is within, let us smooth the “wrinkles” that are within, let us do away the 
“blemishes” that are on the soul. Such is the beauty God requires. Let us make her fair in 
God’s sight, not in our own. Let us not look for wealth, nor for that high-birth which is 
outward, but for that true nobility which is in the soul. Let no one endure to get rich by a 
wife; for such riches are base and disgraceful; no, by no means let any one seek to get rich 
from this source. “For they that desire to be rich, fall into a temptation and a snare, and 
many foolish and hurtful lusts, and into destruction and perdition.” (1 Tim. vi. 9.) Seek not 
therefore in thy wife abundance of wealth, and thou shaft find everything else go well. Who, 
tell me, would overlook the most important things, to attend to those which are less so? 
And yet, alas! this is in every case our feeling. Yes, if we have a son, we concern ourselves 
not how he may be made virtuous, but how we may get him a rich wife; not how he may be 
well-mannered, but well-monied: 425 if we follow a business, we enquire not how it may be 


424 [Note that Chrysostom here quotes the Old Testament Apocrypha as Scripture: dxoue xfjc; ypacptic 
Xeyouaqc- Dr. Schaff says: “He accepts the Syrian Canon of the Peshito, which includes the Old Test, with the 
Apocrypha,” &c. Prolegomena , p. 19. — G.A.] 

425 oi>x 6 7i toe; euTpo7toc; aXX’ drone, euitopot;. 


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clear of sin, but how it may bring us in most profit. And everything has become money; and 
thus is everything corrupted and ruined, because that passion possesses us. 

Ver. 28. “Even so ought husbands to love their own wives,” saith he, “as their own 
bodies.” 

What, again, means this? To how much greater a similitude, and stronger example has 
he come; and not only so, but also to one how much nearer and clearer, and to a fresh oblig- 
ation. For that other one was of no very constraining force, for He was Christ, and was God, 
and gave Himself. He now manages his argument on a different ground, saying, “so ought 
men”; because the thing is not a favor, but a debt. Then, “as their own bodies.” And why? 

Ver. 29. “For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it.” 

That is, tends it with exceeding care. And how is she his flesh? Hearken; “This now is 
bone of my bones,” saith Adam, “and flesh of my flesh.” (Gen. ii. 23.) For she is made of 
matter taken from us. And not only so, but also, “they shall be,” saith God, “one flesh.” (Gen. 
ii. 24.) 

“Even as Christ also the Church.” Here he returns to the former example. 

Ver. 30. “Because we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” 426 

Ver. 31. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his 

497 

wife, and the twain shall become one flesh.” 

Behold again a third ground of obligation; for he shows that a man leaving them that 
begat him, and from whom he was born, is knit to his wife; and that then the one flesh is, 
father, and mother, and the child, from the substance of the two commingled. For indeed 
by the commingling of their seeds is the child produced, so that the three are one flesh. Thus 
then are we in relation to Christ; we become one flesh by participation, and we much more 
than the child. And why and how so? Because so it has been from the beginning. 

Tell me not that such and such things are so. Seest thou not that we have in our own 
flesh itself many defects? For one man, for instance, is lame, another has his feet distorted, 
another his hands withered, another some other member weak; and yet nevertheless he does 
not grieve at it, nor cut it off, but oftentimes prefers it even to the other. Naturally enough; 
for it is part of himself. As great love as each entertains towards himself, so great he would 
have us entertain towards a wife. Not because we partake of the same nature; no, this ground 


426 [The words, “of his flesh and of his bones,” are omitted by A B, by Memphitic version, by Lach. Tish. 
Treg. (text) W. & H., and by the Rev. Ver. without any marginal notice whatever. — G.A.] 

427 [Meyer: ‘“For this reason,’ namely, because we are members of Christ’s body. Paul then applies what is 
spoken in Gen. of the union of husband and wife, by a typical interpretation, to the second coming (future, 
KaTa\£h|/£L) of Christ, and his union with the Church, which shall take place at the Parousia.” Ellicott says that 
Chrysostom’s view is more probable, namely, that it refers to Christ’s coming in the flesh. (See a little below, on 
ver. 32.) — G.A.] 


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of duty towards a wife is far greater than that; it is that there are not two bodies but one; he 
the head, she the body. And how saith he elsewhere “and the Head of Christ is God”? (1 
Cor. xi. 3.) This I too say, that as we are one body, so also are Christ and the Father One. 
And thus then is the Father also found to be our Head. He sets down two examples, that of 
the natural body and that of Christ’s body. And hence he further adds, 

Ver. 32. “This is great mystery: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the Church.” 
Why does he call it a great mystery? That it was something great and wonderful, the 
blessed Moses, or rather God, intimated. For the present, however, saith he, I speak regarding 
Christ, that having left the Father, He came down, and came to the Bride, and became one 
Spirit. “For he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.” (1 Cor. vi. 17.) And well saith he, 
“it is a great mystery.” And then as though he were saying, “But still nevertheless the allegory 
does not destroy affection,” he adds, 

Ver. 33. “Nevertheless 429 do ye also severally love each one his own wife even as himself; 
and let the wife see that she fear her husband.” 

For indeed, in very deed, a mystery it is, yea, a great mystery, that a man should leave 
him that gave him being, him that begat him, and that brought him up, and her that travailed 
with him and had sorrow, those that have bestowed upon him so many and great benefits, 
those with whom he has been in familiar intercourse, and be joined to one who was never 
even seen by him and who has nothing in common with him, and should honor her before 
all others. A mystery it is indeed. And yet are parents not distressed when these events take 
place, but rather, when they do not take place; and are delighted when their wealth is spent 
and lavished upon it. — A great mystery indeed! and one that contains some hidden wisdom. 
Such Moses prophetically showed it to be from the very first; such now also Paul proclaims 
it, where he saith, “concerning Christ and the Church.” 

However not for the husband’s sake alone it is thus said, but for the wife’s sake also, 
that “he cherish her as his own flesh, as Christ also the Church,” and, “that the wife fear her 
husband.” He is no longer setting down the duties of love only, but what? “That she fear her 
husband.” The wife is a second authority; let not her then demand equality, for she is under 
the head; nor let him despise her as being in subjection, for she is the body; and if the head 
despise the body, it will itself also perish. But let him bring in love on his part as a counter- 
poise to obedience on her part. For example, let the hands and the feet, and all the rest of 


428 [This seems a distinct statement on the part of the Apostle, that the preceding words refer not to actual 
marriage of man and woman, but to the nuptial union of Christ and the Church. So Meyer. But Dr. Riddle, in 
the Popular Commentary, says this “mystical interpretation is unsafe.” — G.A.] 

429 [Nevertheless, i.e., not to press the mystical bearings of the subject any further. — Ellicott. So substantially 
Meyer and Riddle. — G.A.] 


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the members be given up for service to the head, but let the head provide for the body, seeing 
it contains every sense in itself. Nothing can be better than this union. 

And yet how can there ever be love, one may say, where there is fear? It will exist there, 
I say, preeminently. For she that fears and reverences, loves also; and she that loves, fears 
and reverences him as being the head, and loves him as being a member, since the head itself 
is a member of the body at large. Hence he places the one in subjection, and the other in 
authority, that there may be peace; for where there is equal authority there can never be 
peace; neither where a house is a democracy, nor where all are rulers; but the ruling power 
must of necessity be one. And this is universally the case with matters referring to the body, 
inasmuch as when men are spiritual, there will be peace. There were “five thousand souls,” 
and not one of them said, “that aught of the things which he possessed was his own” (Acts 
iv. 32.), but they were subject one to another; an indication this of wisdom, and of the fear 
of God. The principle of love, however, he explains; that of fear he does not. And mark, how 
on that of love he enlarges, stating the arguments relating to Christ and those relating to 
one’s own flesh, the words, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother.” (Ver. 
31.) Whereas upon those drawn from fear he forbears to enlarge. And why so? Because he 
would rather that this principle prevail, this, namely, of love; for where this exists, everything 
else follows of course, but where the other exists, not necessarily. For the man who loves 
his wife, even though she be not a very obedient one, still will bear with everything. So difficult 
and impracticable is unanimity, where persons are not bound together by that love which 
is founded in supreme authority; at all events, fear will not necessarily effect this. Accordingly, 
he dwells the more upon this, which is the strong tie. And the wife though seeming to be 
the loser in that she was charged to fear, is the gainer, because the principal duty, love, is 
charged upon the husband. “But what,” one may say, “if a wife reverence me not?” Never 
mind, thou art to love, fulfill thine own duty. For though that which is due from others may 
not follow, we ought of course to do our duty. This is an example of what I mean. He says, 
“submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” And what then if another submit 
not himself? Still obey thou the law of God. Just so, I say, is it also here. Let the wife at least, 
though she be not loved, still reverence notwithstanding, that nothing may lie at her door; 
and let the husband, though his wife reverence him not, still show her love notwithstanding, 
that he himself be not wanting in any point. For each has received his own. 

This then is marriage when it takes place according to Christ, spiritual marriage, and 
spiritual birth, not of blood, nor of travail, nor of the will of the flesh. Such was the birth of 
Christ, not of blood, nor of travail. Such also was that of Isaac. Hear how the Scripture saith, 
“And it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.” (Gen. xviii. 1 1.) Yea, a marriage 
it is, not of passion, nor of the flesh, but wholly spiritual, the soul being united to God by a 
union unspeakable, and which He alone knoweth. Therefore he saith, “He that is joined 
unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. vi. 17.) Mark how earnestly he endeavors to unite both 


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flesh with flesh, and spirit with spirit. And where are the heretics? 430 Never surely, if marriage 
were a thing to be condemned, would he have called Christ and the Church a bride and 
bridegroom; never would he have brought forward by way of exhortation the words, “A 
man shall leave his father and his mother”; and again have added, that it was “spoken in 
regard of Christ and of the Church.” For of her it is that the Psalmist also saith, “Hearken, 
O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s 
house. So shall the king desire thy beauty.” (Ps. xlv. 10, 11.) Therefore also Christ saith, “I 
came out from the Father, and am come.” (John xvi. 28.) But when I say, that He left the 
Father, imagine not such a thing as happens among men, a change of place; for just in the 
same way as the word “go forth” is used, not because He literally came forth, but because 
of His incarnation, so also is the expression, “He left the Father.” 

Now why did he not say of the wife also, She shall be joined unto her husband? Why, I 
say, is this? Because he was discoursing concerning love, and was discoursing to the husband. 
For to her indeed he discourses concerning reverence, and says, “the husband is the head 
of the wife” (ver. 23.), and again, “Christ is the Head of the Church.” Whereas to him he 
discourses concerning love, and commits to him this province of love, and declares to him 
that which pertains to love, thus binding him and cementing him to her. For the man that 
leaves his father for the sake of his wife, and then again, leaves this very wife herself and 
abandons her, what forbearance can he deserve? 

Seest thou not how great a share of honor God would have her enjoy, in that he hath 
taken thee away from thy father, and hath linked thee to her? What then, a man may say, if 
our duty is done, and yet she does not follow the example? “Yet if the unbelieving departeth, 
let him depart; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases.” (1 Cor. vii. 15.) 

However, when thou hearest of “fear,” demand that fear which becomes a free woman, 
not as though thou wert exacting it of a slave. For she is thine own body; and if thou do this, 
thou reproachest thyself in dishonoring thine own body. And of what nature is this “fear”? 
It is the not contradicting, the not rebelling, the not being fond of the preeminence. It is 
enough that fear be kept within these bounds. But if thou love, as thou art commanded, 
thou wilt make it yet greater. Or rather it will not be any longer by fear that thou wilt be 
doing this, but love itself will have its effect. The sex is somehow weaker, and needs much 
support, much condescension. 



430 The Gnostics, Encratites (Schaff, Church Hist. II. p. 495), and other sects forebade marriage; vid. 1 Tim. 
iv. 3. Here the Marcionites seem to be intended, whom St. Chrysostom often mentions; vid. supr. Horn. xix. [See 
Schaff s Church Hist., Vol. II., p. 457. — G.A.] 


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But what will they say, who are knit together in second marriages? 431 I speak not at all 
in condemnation of them, God forbid; for the Apostle himself permits them, though indeed 
by way of condescension. 

Supply her with everything. Do everything and endure trouble for her sake. Necessity 
is laid upon thee. 

Here he does not think it right to introduce his counsel, as he in many cases does, with 
examples from them that are without. That of Christ, so great and forcible, were alone 
enough; and more especially as regards the argument of subjection. “A man shall leave,” he 
saith, “his father and mother.” Behold, this then is from without. But he does not say, and 
“shall dwell with,” but “shall cleave unto,” thus showing the closeness of the union, and the 
fervent love. Nay, he is not content with this, but further by what he adds, he explains the 
subjection in such a way as that the twain appear no longer twain. He does not say, “one 
spirit,” he does not say, “one soul” (for that is manifest, and is possible to any one), but so 
as to be “one flesh.” She is a second authority, possessing indeed an authority, and a consid- 
erable equality of dignity; but at the same time the husband has somewhat of superiority. 
In this consists most chiefly the well-being of the house. For he took that former argument, 
the example of Christ, to show that we ought not only to love, but also to govern; “that she 
maybe,” saith he, “holy and without blemish.” But the word “flesh” has reference to love — and 
the word “shall cleave” has in like manner reference to love. For if thou shalt make her “holy 
and without blemish,” everything else will follow. Seek the things which are of God, and 
those which are of man will follow readily enough. Govern thy wife, and thus will the whole 
house be in harmony. Hear what Paul saith. “And if they would learn anything, let them 
ask their own husbands at home.” (1 Cor. xiv. 35.) If we thus regulate our own houses, we 
shall be also fit for the management of the Church. For indeed a house is a little Church. 
Thus it is possible for us by becoming good husbands and wives, to surpass all others. 

Consider Abraham, and Sarah, and Isaac, and the three hundred and eighteen born in 
his house. (Gen. xiv. 14.) How the whole house was harmoniously knit together, how the 
whole was full of piety and fulfilled the Apostolic injunction. She also “reverenced her hus- 
band”; for hear her own words, “It hath not yet happened unto me even until now, and my 
lord is old also.” (Gen. xviii. 12.) And he again so loved her, that in all things he obeyed 
her commands. And the young child was virtuous, and the servants born in the house, they 
too were so excellent that they refused not even to hazard their lives with their master; they 


431 [On second marriages in the early Church, see Schaffs History of the Christian Church, Vol. II., p. 
366. — G.A.] 

432 [This, according to the Septuagint, which has ovmo pev poi ysyovEV eux; tou vuv. & 233- Se Kupioc pou 
Ttp£a|3uT£poc;. The Rev. Ver., following the Hebrew, has, “After I am waxed old, shall I have pleasure, my lord 
being old also?” — G.A.] 


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delayed not, nor asked the reason. Nay, one of them, the chief, was so admirable, that he 
was even entrusted with the marriage of the only-begotten child, and with a journey into a 
foreign country. (Gen. xxiv. 1-67.) For just as with a general, when his soldiery also is well 
organized, the enemy has no quarter to attack; so, I say, is it also here: when husband and 
wife and children and servants are all interested in the same things, great is the harmony of 
the house. Since where this is not the case, the whole is oftentimes overthrown and broken 
up by one bad servant; and that single one will often mar and utterly destroy the whole. 

Moral. Let us then be very thoughtful both for our wives, and children, and servants; 
knowing that we shall thus be establishing for ourselves an easy government, and shall have 
our accounts with them gentle and lenient, and say, “Behold I, and the children which God 
hath given me.” (Isa. viii. 18.) If the husband command respect, and the head be honorable, 
then will the rest of the body sustain no violence. Now what is the wife’s fitting behavior, 
and what the husband’s, he states accurately, charging her to reverence him as the head, 
and him to love her as a wife; but how, it may be said, can these things be? That they ought 
indeed so to be, he has proved. But how they can be so, I will tell you. They will be so, if we 
will despise money, if we will look but to one thing only, excellence of soul, if we will keep 
the fear of God before our eyes. For what he says in his discourse to servants, “whatsoever 
any man doeth, whether it be good or evil, the same shall he receive of the Lord” (Eph. vi. 
8.); this is also the case here. Love her therefore not for her sake so much as for Christ’s sake. 
This, at least, he as much as intimates, in saying, “as unto the Lord.” So then do everything, 
as in obedience to the Lord, and as doing everything for His sake. This were enough to induce 
and to persuade us, and not to suffer that there should be any teasing and dissension. Let 
none be believed when slandering the husband to his wife; no, nor let the husband believe 
anything at random against the wife, nor let the wife be without reason inquisitive about 
his goings out and his comings in. No, nor on any account let the husband ever render 
himself worthy of any suspicion whatever. For what, tell me, what if thou shalt devote thyself 
all the day to thy friends, and give the evening to thy wife, and not even thus be able to 
content her, and place her out of reach of suspicion? Though thy wife complain, yet be not 
annoyed — it is her love, not her folly — they are the complaints of fervent attachment, and 
burning affection, and fear. Yes, she is afraid lest any one have stolen her marriage bed, lest 
any one have injured her in that which is the summit of her blessings, lest any one have 
taken away from her him who is her head, lest any one have broken through her marriage 
chamber. 

There is also another ground of petty jealousy. Let neither claim too much service of 
the servants, neither the husband from the maid-servant, nor the wife from the man-servant. 
For these things also are enough to beget suspicion. For consider, I say, that righteous 
household I spoke of. Sarah herself bade the patriarch take Hagar. She herself directed it, 


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A'X'X 

no one compelled her, nor did the husband attempt it; no, although he had dragged on 
so long a period childless, yet he chose never to become a father, rather than to grieve his 
wife. And yet even after all this, what said Sarah? “The Lord judge between me and thee.” 
(Gen. xvi. 5.) Now, I say, had he been any one else would he not have been moved to anger? 
Would he not also have stretched forth his hand, saying as it were, “What meanest thou? I 
had no desire to have anything to do with the woman; it was all thine own doing; and dost 
thou turn again and accuse me?” — But no, he says nothing of the sort; — but what? “Behold, 
thy maid is in thy hand; do to her that which is good in thine eyes.” (Gen. xvi. 6.) He delivered 
up the partner of his bed, that he might not grieve Sarah. And yet surely is there nothing 
greater than this for producing affection. For if partaking of the same table produces unan- 
imity even in robbers towards their foes, (and the Psalmist 434 saith, “Who didst eat sweet 
food at the same table with me”); much more will the becoming one flesh — for such is the 
being the partner of the bed — be effectual to draw us together. Yet did none of these things 
avail to overcome him; but he delivered Hagar up to his wife, to show that nothing had been 
done by his own fault. Nay, and what is more, he sent her forth when with child. Who would 
not have pitied one that had conceived a child by himself? Yet was the just man unmoved, 
for he set before everything else the love he owed his wife. 

Let us then imitate him ourselves. Let no one reproach his neighbor with his poverty; 
let no one be in love with money; and then all difficulties will be at an end. 

Neither let a wife say to her husband, “Unmanly coward that thou art, full of sluggishness 
and dullness, and fast asleep! here is such a one, a low man, and of low parentage, who runs 
his risks, and makes his voyages, and has made a good fortune; and his wife wears her jewels, 
and goes out with her pair of milk-white mules; 435 she rides about everywhere, she has 
troops of slaves, and a swarm of eunuchs, but thou hast cowered down and livest to no 
purpose.” Let not a wife say these things, nor anything like them. For she is the body, not 
to dictate to the head, but to submit herself and obey. “But how,” some one will say, “is she 
to endure poverty? Where is she to look for consolation?” Let her select and put beside her 
those who are poorer still. Let her again consider how many noble and high-born maidens 
have not only received nothing of their husbands, but have even given dowries to them, and 
have spent their all upon them. Let her reflect on the perils which arise from such riches, 
and she will cling to this quiet life. In short, if she is affectionately disposed towards her 


433 [The punctuation of Field: oude £7ifjX0£v- 6 avrip, &c., is clearly not so good as that of the Oxford trans- 
lator: ou6e £Ttf|X0£v 6 avf|p, &c. — G.A.] 

434 [The Septuagint reads, oc;£7tl to ciuto eyXuKavac; edeapara, and this Chrysostom, not knowing Hebrew, 
follows. The Rev. Ver. has “We took sweet counsel together.” — G.A.] 

435 So Demosthenes says of Midias, kcil eic; puarfipia Tf)v yuvalKa ayei, Kav aXXoae 7toi |3ouXr|TaL, errt tou 
Xeukou (euyouc; tou ek Xlkucovoc;. Dem. in Mid. p. 565. 


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husband, she will utter nothing of the sort. No, she will rather choose to have him near her, 
though gaining nothing, than gaining ten thousand talents of gold, accompanied with that 
care and anxiety which always arise to wives from those distant voyages. 

Neither, however, let the husband, when he hears these things, on the score of his having 
the supreme authority, betake himself to revilings and to blows; but let him exhort, let him 
admonish her, as being less perfect, let him persuade her with arguments. Let him never 
once lift his hand, — far be this from a noble spirit, — no, nor give expression to insults, or 
taunts, or revilings; but let him regulate and direct her as being wanting in wisdom. Yet how 
shall this be done? If she be instructed in the true riches, in the heavenly philosophy, she 
will make no complaints like these. Let him teach her then, that poverty is no evil. Let him 
teach her, not by what he says only, but also by what he does. Let him teach her to despise 
glory; and then his wife will speak of nothing, and will desire nothing of the kind. Let him, 
as if he had an image given into his hands to mould, let him, from that very evening on 
which he first receives her into the bridal chamber, teach her temperance, gentleness, and 
how to live, casting down the love of money at once from the outset, and from the very 
threshold. Let him discipline her in wisdom, and advise her never to have bits of gold hanging 
at her ears, and down her cheeks, and laid round about her neck, nor laid up about the 
chamber, nor golden and costly garments stored up. But let her chamber be handsome, still 
let not what is handsome degenerate into finery. No, leave these things to the people of the 
stage. Adorn thine house thyself with all possible neatness, so as rather to breathe an air of 
soberness than much perfume. For hence will arise two or three good results. First then, the 
bride will not be grieved, when the apartments are opened, and the tissues, and the golden 
ornaments, and silver vessels, are sent back to their several owners. Next, the bridegroom 
will have no anxiety about the loss, nor for the security of the accumulated treasures. Thirdly 
again, in addition to this, which is the crown of all these benefits, by these very points he 
will be showing his own judgment, that indeed he has no pleasure in any of these things, 
and that he will moreover put an end to everything else in keeping with them, and will 
never so much as allow the existence either of dances, or of immodest songs. I am aware 
that I shall appear perhaps ridiculous to many persons, in giving such admonitions. Still 
nevertheless, if ye will but listen to me, as time goes on, and the benefit of the practice accrues 
to you, then ye will understand the advantage of it. And the laughter will pass off, and ye 
will laugh at the present fashion, and will see that the present practice is really that of silly 
children and of drunken men. Whereas what I recommend is the part of soberness, and 
wisdom, and of the sublimest way of life. What then do I say is our duty? Take away from 
marriage all those shameful, those Satanic, those immodest songs, those companies of 


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profligate young people, and this will avail to chasten the spirit of thy bride. 436 For she will 
at once thus reason with herself; “Wonderful! What a philosopher this man is! he regards 
the present life as nothing, he has brought me here into his house, to be a mother, to bring 
up his children, to manage his household affairs.” “Yes, but these things are distasteful to a 
bride?” Just for the first or second day; — but not afterwards; nay, she will even reap from 
them the greatest delight, and relieve herself of all suspicion. For a man who can endure 

A'X'l 

neither flute-players, nor dancers, nor broken songs, and that too at the very time of his 
wedding, that man will scarcely endure ever to do or say anything shameful. And then after 
this, when thou hast stripped the marriage of all these things, then take her, and form and 
mould her carefully, encouraging her bashfulness to a considerable length of time, and not 
destroying it suddenly. For even if the damsel be very bold, yet for a time she will keep silence 
out of reverence for her husband, and feeling herself a novice in the circumstances. Thou 
then break not off this reserve too hastily, as unchaste husbands do, but encourage it for a 
long time. For this will be a great advantage to thee. Meanwhile she will not complain, she 
will not find fault with any laws thou mayest frame for her. During that time therefore, 
during which shame, like a sort of bridle laid upon the soul, suffers her not to make any 
murmur, nor to complain of what is done, lay down all thy laws. For as soon as ever she 
acquires boldness, she will overturn and confound everything without any sense of fear. 
When is there then another time so advantageous for moulding a wife, as that during which 
she reverences her husband, and is still timid, and still shy? Then lay down all thy laws for 
her, and willing or unwilling, she will certainly obey them. But how shalt thou help spoiling 
her modesty? By showing her that thou thyself art no less modest than she is, addressing to 
her but few words, and those too with great gravity and collectedness. Then entrust her with 
the discourses of wisdom, for her soul will receive them. And establish her in that loveliest 
habit, I mean modesty. If you wish me, I will also tell you by way of specimen, what sort of 
language should be addressed to her. For if Paul shrank not from saying, “Defraud ye not 
one the other” (1 Cor. vii. 5.), and spoke the language of a bridesmaid, or rather not of a 
bridesmaid, but of a spiritual soul, much more will not we shrink from speaking. What then 
is the language we ought to address to her? With great delicacy then we may say to her, “I 
have taken thee, my child, to be partner of my life, and have brought thee in to share with 
me in the closest and most honorable ties, in my children, and the superintendence of my 
house. And what advice then shall I now recommend thee?” But rather, first talk with her 


436 [In Horn. XII. on 1 Cor. iv. 10, Chrysostom says, “But when marriages are solemnized, dancing and 
cymbals and flutes and shameful words and songs and drunkenness and revelings and the Devil’s great heap of 
trash are introduced.” And much more to the same effect and in great detail. — G.A.] 

437 ctap&Ttuv KEKXaapevtov. 


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of your love for her; for there is nothing that so contributes to persuade a hearer to admit 
sincerely the things that are said, as to be assured that they are said with hearty affection. 
How then art thou to show that affection? By saying, “when it was in my power to take many 
to wife, both with better fortunes, and of noble family, I did not so choose, but I was enam- 
oured of thee, and thy beautiful life, thy modesty, thy gentleness, and soberness of mind.” 
Then immediately from these beginnings open the way to your discourse on true wisdom, 
and with some circumlocution make a protest against riches. For if you direct your argument 
at once against riches, you will bear too heavily upon her; but if you do it by taking an occa- 
sion, you will succeed entirely. For you will appear to be doing it in the way of an apology, 
not as a morose sort of person, and ungracious, and over-nice about trifles. But when you 
take occasion from what relates to herself, she will be even pleased. You will say then, (for 
I must now take up the discourse again,) that “whereas I might have married a rich woman, 
and with good fortune, I could not endure it. And why so? Not capriciously, and without 
reason; but I was taught well and truly, that money is no real possession, but a most 
despicable thing, a thing which moreover belongs as well to thieves, and to harlots, and to 
grave-robbers. So I gave up these things, and went on till I fell in with the excellence of thy 
soul, which I value above all gold. For a young damsel who is discreet and ingenuous, and 
whose heart is set on piety, is worth the whole world. For these reasons then, I courted thee, 
and I love thee, and prefer thee to my own soul. For the present life is nothing. And I pray, 
and beseech, and do all I can, that we may be counted worthy so to live this present life, as 
that we may be able also there in the world to come to be united to one another in perfect 
security. For our time here is brief and fleeting. But if we shall be counted worthy by having 
pleased God to so exchange this life for that one, then shall we ever be both with Christ and 
with each other, with more abundant pleasure. I value thy affection above all things, and 
nothing is so bitter or so painful to me, as ever to be at variance with thee. Yes, though it 

A O O 

should be my lot to lose my all, and to become poorer than Irus, and undergo the extremest 
hazards, and suffer any pain whatsoever, all will be tolerable and endurable, so long as thy 
feelings are true towards me. And then will my children be most dear to me, whilst thou art 
affectionately disposed towards me. But thou must do these duties too.” Then mingle also 
with your discourse the Apostle’s words, that “thus God would have our affections blended 
together; for listen to the Scripture, which saith, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father 
and mother, and cleave to his wife.’ Let us have no pretext for narrow-minded jealousy . 439 
Perish riches, and retinue of slaves, and all your outward pomps. To me this is more valuable 


438 [The well-known beggar of Ithaca, the home of Ulysses. He was the messenger of the suitors of Penelope. 
See Odys. Bk. xviii. 1-125. Later, his name was used as an appellation, “an Irus, a beggar.” Liban. i. 568. — Liddell 
and Scott. — G.A.] 

439 piKpo\|/uxla. 


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Ephesians 5:22-24 


than all.” What weight of gold, what amount of treasures, are so dear to a wife as these 
words? Never fear that because she is beloved she will ever rave against thee, but confess 
that thou lovest her. For courtezans indeed, who now attach themselves to one and now to 
another, would naturally enough feel contempt towards their lovers, should they hear such 
expressions as these; but a free-born wife or a noble damsel would never be so affected with 
such words; no, she will be so much the more subdued. Show her too, that you set a high 
value on her company, and that you are more desirous to be at home for her sake, than in 
the market-place. And esteem her before all your friends, and above the children that are 
born of her, and let these very children be beloved by thee for her sake. If she does any good 
act, praise and admire it; if any foolish one, and such as girls may chance to do, advise her 
and remind her. Condemn out and out all riches and extravagance, and gently point out 
the ornament that there is in neatness and in modesty; and be continually teaching her the 
things that are profitable. 

Let your prayers be common . 440 Let each go to Church; and let the husband ask his 
wife at home, and she again ask her husband, the account of the things which were said and 
read there. If any poverty should overtake you, cite the case of those holy men, Paul and 
Peter, who were more honored than any kings or rich men; and yet how they spent their 
lives, in hunger and in thirst. Teach her that there is nothing in life that is to be feared, save 
only offending against God. If any marry thus, with these views, he will be but little inferior 
to monks; the married but little below the unmarried. 

If thou hast a mind to give dinners, and to make entertainments, let there be nothing 
immodest, nothing disorderly. If thou shouldest find any poor saint able to bless your house, 
able only just by setting his foot in it to bring in the whole blessing of God, invite him. And 
shalt I say moreover another thing? Let no one of you make it his endeavor to marry a rich 
woman, but much rather a poor one. When she comes in, she will not bring so great a source 
of pleasure from her riches, as she will annoyance from her taunts, from her demanding 
more than she brought, from her insolence, her extravagance, her vexatious language. For 
she will say perhaps, “I have not yet spent anything of thine, I am still wearing my own ap- 
parel, bought with what my parents settled upon me.” What sayest thou, O woman? Still 
wearing thine own! And what can be more miserable than this language? Why, thou hast 
no longer a body of thine own, and hast thou money of thine own? After marriage ye are 
no longer twain, but are become one flesh, and are then your possessions twain, and not 
one? Oh! this love of money! Ye both are become one man, one living creature; and dost 
thou still say “mine own”? Cursed and abominable word that it is, it was brought in by the 
devil. Things far nearer and dearer to us than these hath God made all common to us, and 


440 [For a picture of family life drawn by Clement of Alexandria, and another drawn by Tertullian, see Schaff, 

Church History , Vol. II., p. 364. — G.A.] 


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Ephesians 5:22-24 


are these then not common? We cannot say, “my own light, my own sun, my own water”: 
all our greater blessings are common, and are riches not common? Perish the riches ten 
thousand times over! Or rather not the riches, but those tempers of mind which know not 
how to make use of riches, but esteem them above all things. 

Teach her these lessons also with the rest, but with much graciousness. For since the 
recommendation of virtue has in itself much that is stern, and especially to a young and 
tender damsel, whenever discourses on true wisdom are to be made, contrive that your 
manner be full of grace and kindness. And above all banish this notion from her soul, of 
“mine and thine.” If she say the word “mine,” say unto her, “What things dost thou call 
thine? For in truth I know not; I for my part have nothing of mine own. How then speakest 
thou of ‘mine,’ when all things are thine?” Freely grant her the word. Dost thou not perceive 
that such is our practice with children? When, whilst we are holding anything, a child 
snatches it, and wishes again to get hold of some other thing, we allow it, and say, “Yes, and 
this is thine, and that is thine.” The same also let us do with a wife; for her temper is more 
or less like a child’s; and if she says “mine,” say, “why, everything is thine, and I am thine.” 
Nor is the expression one of flattery, but of exceeding wisdom. Thus wilt thou be able to 
abate her wrath, and put an end to her disappointment. For it is flattery when a man does 
an unworthy act with an evil object: whereas this is the highest philosophy. Say then, “Even 
I am thine, my child; this advice Paul gives me where he says, ‘The husband hath not power 
over his own body, but the wife.’ ( 1 Cor. vii. 4.) If I have no power over my body, but thou 
hast, much more hast thou over my possessions.” By saying these things thou wilt have 
quieted her, thou wilt have quenched the fire, thou wilt have shamed the devil, thou wilt 
have made her more thy slave than one bought with money, with this language thou wilt 
have bound her fast. Thus then, by thine own language, teach her never to speak of “mine 
and thine.” And again, never call her simply by her name, but with terms of endearment, 
with honor, with much love. Honor her, and she will not need honor from others; she will 
not want the glory that comes from others, if she enjoys that which comes from thee. Prefer 
her before all, on every account, both for her beauty and her discernment, and praise her. 
Thou wilt thus persuade her to give heed to none that are without, but to scorn all the world 
except thyself. Teach her the fear of God, and all good things will flow from this as from a 
fountain, and the house will be full of ten thousand blessings. If we seek the things that are 
incorruptible, these corruptible things will follow. “For,” saith He, “seek first His kingdom, 
and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. vi. 33.) What sort of persons, think 
you, must the children of such parents be? What the servants of such masters? What all 
others who come near them? Will not they too eventually be loaded with blessings out of 
number? For generally the servants also have their characters formed after their master’s, 
and are fashioned after their humors, love the same objects, which they have been taught 
to love, speak the same language, and engage with them in the same pursuits. If thus we 


283 


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regulate ourselves, and attentively study the Scriptures, in most things we shall derive in- 
struction from them. And thus shall be able to please God, and to pass through the whole 
of the present life virtuously, and to attain those blessings which are promised to those that 
love Him, of which God grant that we may all be counted worthy, through the grace and 
lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom, together with the Holy Ghost, be 
unto the Father, glory, power, and honor, now, and ever, through all ages. Amen. 


284 



Ephesians 6:1-3 


Homily XXI. 

Ephesians vi. 1-3 

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor thy father and mother (which 
is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest 
live long on the earth.” 

As a man in forming a body, places the head first, after that the neck, then the feet, so 
does the blessed Paul proceed in his discourse. He has spoken of the husband, he has spoken 
of the wife, who is second in authority, he now goes on by gradual advances to the third 
rank — which is that of children. For the husband has authority over the wife, and the husband 
and the wife over the children. Now then mark what he is saying. 

“Children, 441 obey your parents in the Lord; for this is the first commandment with 
promise.” 

Here he has not a word of discourse concerning Christ, not a word on high subjects, 
for he is as yet addressing his discourse to tender understandings. And it is for this reason, 
moreover, that he makes his exhortation short, inasmuch as children cannot follow up a 
long argument. For this reason also he does not discourse at all about a kingdom, (because 
it does not belong to the tender age of childhood to understand these subjects,) but what a 
child’s soul most especially longs to hear, that he says, namely, that it shall “live long.” For 
if any one shall enquire why it is that he omitted to discourse concerning a kingdom, but 
set before them the commandment laid down in the law, he does this because he speaks to 
them as infantile, and because he is well aware that if the husband and the wife are thus 
disposed according to the law which he has laid down, there will be but little trouble in se- 
curing the submission of the children. For whenever any matter has a good and sound and 
orderly principle and foundation, everything will thenceforward go on with method and 
regularity, with much facility: the more difficult thing is to settle the foundation, to lay down 
a firm basis. “Children,” saith he, “obey your parents in the Lord,” that is, according to the 
Lord. This, he means to say, is what God 442 commands you. But what then if they shall 
command foolish things? Generally a father, however foolish he may be himself, does not 
command foolish things. However, even in that case, the Apostle has guarded the matter, 
by saying, “in the Lord”; that is, wherever you will not be offending against God. So that if 


441 [“The address to children in a letter to the Church presupposes that the Apostle regards them as belonging 
to the Church, present at public worship, understanding the word read to and applicable to them.” — Braune in 
Lange. — G.A.] 

442 [“ev Kupi& 251-. Not God, as Chrysostom, and not Kara Kupiov, as Chrysostom, but denoting the sphere 
to which the action is to be limited.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


285 


Ephesians 6:1-3 


the father be a gentile or a heretic, we ought no longer to obey, because the command is not 
then, “in the Lord.” But how is it that he says, “Which is the first commandment”? For the 
first is, “Thou shalt not commit adultery; — Thou shalt not kill.” He does not speak of it then 
as first in rank, 443 but in respect of the promise. For upon those others there is no reward 
annexed, as being enacted with reference to evil things, and to departure from evil things. 
Whereas in these others, where there is the practice of good, there is further a promise held 
out. And observe how admirable a foundation he has laid for the path of virtue, that is, 
honor and reverence towards parents. When he would lead us away from wicked practices, 
and is just about to enter upon virtuous ones, this is the first thing he enjoins, honor towards 
parents; inasmuch as they before all others are, after God, the authors of our being, so that 
it is reasonable they should be the first to reap the fruits of our right actions; and then all 
the rest of mankind. For if a man have not this honor for parents he will never be gentle 
toward those unconnected with him. 

However, having given the necessary injunctions to children, he passes to the fathers, 
and says, 

Ver. 4. “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but nurture them up in the 
chastening and admonition of the Lord.” 

He does not say, “love them,” because to this nature draws them even against their own 
will, and it were superfluous to lay down a law on such subjects. But what does he say? 
“Provoke not your children to wrath,” as many do by disinheriting them, and disowning 
them, and treating them overbearingly, not as free, but as slaves. This is why he says, “Provoke 
not your children to wrath.” Then, which is the chief thing of all, he shows how they will be 
led to obedience, referring the whole source of it to the head and chief authority. And in 
the same way as he has shown the husband to be the cause of the wife’s obedience, (which 
is the reason also why he addresses the greater part of his arguments to him, advising him 
to attach her to himself by the power of love,) so, I say, here also, he refers the efficiency to 
him, by saying, “But bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” Thou 
seest that where there are spiritual ties, the natural ties will follow. Do you wish your son to 
be obedient? From the very first “Bring him up in the chastening and admonition of the 
Lord.” Never deem it an unnecessary thing that he should be a diligent hearer of the divine 
Scriptures. For there the first thing he hears will be this, “Honor thy father and thy mother”; 
so that this makes for thee. Never say, this is the business of monks. Am I making a monk 
of him? No. There is no need he should become a monk 444 Why be so afraid of a thing so 


443 rd^Ei. [“Paul says Ttpurrq, having before his mind not only the Decalogue, but also ‘the entire series of 
divine precepts,’ which begins with the Decalogue.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

444 Fathers were very suspicious in St. Chrysostom’s day of the influence of Christianity tending to make 
their children monks. In consequence of this prejudice against the monastic life, he wrote his Adv. Oppugn. 
Mon. Vit. 


286 


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replete with so much advantage? Make him a Christian. For it is of all things necessary for 
laymen 445 to be acquainted with the lessons derived from this source; but especially for 
children. For theirs is an age full of folly; and to this folly are superadded the bad examples 
derived from the heathen tales, where they are made acquainted with those heroes so admired 
amongst them, slaves of their passions, and cowards with regard to death; as, for example, 
Achilles, when he relents, when he dies for his concubine, when another gets drunk, and 
many other things of the sort. He requires therefore the remedies against these things. How 
is it not absurd to send children out to trades, and to school, and to do all you can for these 
objects, and yet, not to “bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord”? And 
for this reason truly we are the first to reap the fruits, because we bring up our children to 
be insolent and profligate, disobedient, and mere vulgar fellows. Let us not then do this; no, 
let us listen to this blessed Apostle’s admonition. “Let us bring them up in the chastening 
and admonition of the Lord.” Let us give them a pattern. Let us make them from the earliest 
age apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures. Alas, that so constantly as I repeat 
this, I am looked upon as trifling! Still, I shall not cease to do my duty. Why, tell me, do ye 
not imitate them of old? Ye women, especially, emulate those admirable women. Has a child 
been born to any one? Imitate Hannah’s example (1 Sam. i. 24.); look at what she did. She 
brought him up at once to the temple. Who amongst you would not rather that his son 
should become a Samuel than that he should be king of the whole world ten thousand times 
over? “And how,” you will say, “is it possible he should become such a one?” Why is it not 
possible? It is because thou dost not choose it thyself, nor committest him to the care of 
those who are able to make him such a one. “And who,” it will be said, “is such a one as 
this?” God. Since she put him into the hands of God. For not even Eh himself was one of 
those in any great degree qualified to form him; (how could he be, he who was not able to 
form even his own children?) No, it was the faith of the mother and her earnest zeal that 
wrought the whole. He was her first child, and her only one, and she knew not whether she 
should ever have others besides. Yet she did not say, “I will wait till the child is grown up, 
that he may have a taste of the things of this life, I will allow him to have his pastime in them 
a little in his childish years.” No, all these thoughts the woman repudiated, she was absorbed 
in one object, how from the very beginning she might dedicate the spiritual image 446 to 
God. Well may we men be put to the blush at the wisdom of this woman. She offered him 
up to God, and there she left him. And therefore was her married state more glorious, in 
that she had made spiritual objects her first care, in that she dedicated the first-fruits to God. 


445 toI(; Koa|iLKott;. 

446 crya\|ia. 


287 


Ephesians 6:1-3 


Therefore was her womb fruitful, and she obtained other children besides . 447 And therefore 
she saw him honorable even in the world. For if men when they are honored, render honor 
in return, will not God much more, He who does this, even without being honored? How 
long are we to be mere lumps of flesh? How long are we to be stooping to the earth? Let 
everything be secondary with us to the provident care we should take of our children, and 
to our “bringing them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” If from the very 
first he is taught to be a lover of true wisdom, then wealth greater than all wealth has he ac- 
quired and a more imposing name. You will effect nothing so great by teaching him an art, 
and giving him that outward learning by which he will gain riches, as if you teach him the 
art of despising riches. If you desire to make him rich, do this. For the rich man is not he 
who desires great riches, and is encircled with great riches; but the man who has need of 
nothing . 448 Discipline your son in this, teach him this. This is the greatest riches. Seek not 
how to give him reputation and high character in outward learning, but consider deeply 
how you shall teach him to despise the glory that belongs to this present life. By this means 
would he become more distinguished and more truly glorious. This it is possible for the 
poor man and the rich man alike to accomplish. These are lessons which a man does not 
learn from a master, nor by art, but by means of the divine oracles. Seek not how he shall 
enjoy a long life here, but how he shall enjoy a boundless and endless life hereafter. Give 
him the great things, not the little things. Hear what Paul saith, “Bring them up in the 
chastening and admonition of the Lord”; study not to make him an orator, but train him 
up to be a philosopher. In the want of the one there will be no harm whatever; in the absence 
of the other, all the rhetoric in the world will be of no advantage. Tempers are wanted, not 
talking; character, not cleverness; deeds, not words. These gain a man the kingdom. These 
confer what are benefits indeed. Whet not his tongue, but cleanse his soul. I do not say this 
to prevent your teaching him these things, but to prevent your attending to them exclusively. 
Do not imagine that the monk alone stands in need of these lessons from Scripture. Of all 
others, the children just about to enter into the world specially need them. For just in the 
same way as the man who is always at anchor in harbor, is not the man who requires his 
ship to be fitted out and who needs a pilot and a crew, but he who is always out at sea; so is 
it with the man of the world and the monk. The one is entered as it were into a waveless 
harbor, and lives an untroubled life, and far removed from every storm; whilst the other is 


447 [On the authority of three mss., Savile and other editors concurring, we have departed here from the text 
of Field, which reverses the order of this and the following sentence, and leaves the sense less clear, v. 1 Sam. ii. 
21.— G.A.] 

448 [This reminds one of the saying of Socrates: To want nothing belongs to the gods, and to want as little as 
possible is to make the nearest approach to them. — G.A.] 


288 


Ephesians 6:1-3 


ever on the ocean, and lives out at sea in the very midst of the ocean, battling with billows 
without number. 

And though he may not need it himself, still he ought to be so prepared as to stop the 
mouths of others . 449 Thus the more distinguished he is in the present life, so much the more 
he stands in need of this education. If he passes his life in courts, there are many Heathens, 
and philosophers, and persons puffed up with the glory of this life. It is like a place full of 
dropsical people. Such in some sort is the court. All are, as it were, puffed up, and in a state 
of inflammation. And they who are not so are studying to become so. Now then reflect how 
vast a benefit it is, that your son on entering there, should enter like an excellent physician, 
furnished with instruments which may allay every one’s peculiar inflammation, and should 
go up to every one, and converse with him, and restore the diseased body to health, applying 
the remedies derived from the Scriptures, and pouring forth discourses of the true philosophy. 
For with whom is the recluse to converse? with his wall and his ceiling? yea, or again with 
the wilderness and the woods? or with the birds and the trees? He therefore has not so great 
need of this sort of discipline. Still, however, he makes it his business to perfect this work, 
not so much with a view of disciplining others as himself. There is then every need of much 
discipline of this sort to those that are to mix in the present world, because such an one has 
a stronger temptation to sin than the other. And if you have a mind to understand it, he will 
further be a more useful person even in the world itself. For all will have a reverence for him 
from these words, when they see him in the fire without being burnt, and not desirous of 
power. But power he will then obtain, when he least desires it, and will be a still higher object 
of respect to the king; for it is not possible that such a character should be hid. Amongst a 
number of healthy persons, indeed, a healthy man will not be noticed; but when there is 
one healthy man amongst a number of sick, the report will quickly spread and reach the 
king’s ears, and he will make him ruler over many nations. Knowing then these things, 
“bring up your children in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” 

“But suppose a man is poor.” Still he will be in no wise more insignificant than the man 
who lives in kings’ courts, because he is not in kings’ courts; no, he will be held in admiration, 
and will soon gain that authority which is yielded voluntarily, and not by any compulsion. 
For if a set of Greeks, men worthless as they are, and dogs , 450 by taking up that worthless 
philosophy of theirs, (for such the Grecian philosophy is,) or rather not itself but only its 
mere name, and wearing the threadbare cloak, and letting their hair grow, impress many; 
how much more will he who is a true philosopher? If a false appearance, if a mere shadow 
of philosophy at first sight so catches us, what if we should love the true and pure philosophy? 
Will not all court it, and entrust both houses, and wives, and children, with full confidence 


449 [The following part of the paragraph explains this sentence. — G.A.] 

450 TpitopoXipatoi tlv£(; Kai kuve(;. 


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Ephesians 6:1-3 


to such men? But there is not, no, there is not such a philosopher existing now. And therefore, 
it is not possible to find an example of the sort. Amongst recluses, indeed, there are such, 
but amongst people in the world no longer. And that amongst recluses there are such, it 
would be possible to adduce a number of instances. However, I will mention one out of 
many. Ye know, doubtless, and have heard of, and some, perhaps, have also seen, the man 
whom I am now about to mention. I mean, the admirable Julian. This man was a rustic, in 
humble life, and of humble parentage, and totally uninstructed in all outward accomplish- 
ments, but full of unadorned wisdom. 451 When he came into the cities, (and this was but 
rarely,) never did such a concourse take place, not when orators, or sophists, or any one else 
rode in. But what am I saying? Is not his very name more glorious than that of any king’s, 
and celebrated even to this day? And if these things were in this world, in the world in which 
the Lord promised us no one good thing, in which He hath told us we are strangers, let us 
consider how great will be the blessings laid up for us in the heavens. If, where they were 
sojourners they enjoyed so great honor, how great glory shall they enjoy where their own 
city is! If, where He promised tribulation, they meet with such attentive care, then where 
He promises true honors, how great shall be their rest! 

And now would ye have me exhibit examples of secular men? At present, indeed, we 
have none; still there are perhaps even secular men who are excellent, though not arrived 
at the highest philosophy. I shall therefore quote you examples from the saints of the ancient 
times. How many, who had wives to keep and children to bring up, were inferior in no re- 
spect, no, in no respect to those who have been mentioned? Now, however, it is no longer 
so, “by reason of the present distress” (1 Cor. vii. 26.), as this blessed Apostle saith. Now 
then whom would ye have me mention? Noah, or Abraham? The son of the one or of the 
other? Or again, Joseph? Or would ye have me go to the Prophets? Moses I mean, or Isaiah? 
However, if you will, let us carry our discourse to Abraham, whom all are continually 
bringing forward to us above all others. Had he not a wife? Had he not children? Yes, for I 
too use the same language to you, as you do to me. He had a wife, but it was not because he 
had a wife that he was so remarkable. He had riches, but it was not because he had riches 
that he pleased God. He begat children, but it was not because he begat children that he was 
pronounced blessed. He had three hundred and eighteen servants born in his house, but it 
was not on this account that he was accounted wonderful. But would you know why it was? 
It was for his hospitality, for his contempt of riches, for his chastened conduct. For what, 
tell me, is the duty of a philosopher? Is it not to despise both riches and glory? Is it not to 
be above both envy and every other passion? Come now then, let us bring him forward and 
strip him, and show you what a philosopher he was. First of all, he esteemed his fatherland 


451 St. Julian was a native of Cilicia, perhaps of Tarsus, and was martyred at^tigae in the Dioclesian persecution. 
One of St. Chrysostom’s orations is in his praise. 


290 


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as nothing. God said, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred” (Gen. xii. 1.), and 
immediately he went forth. He was not bound to his house, (or surely he would never have 
gone forth,) nor to his love of familiar friends, nor to anything else whatever. But what? 
glory and money he despised above all others. For when he had put an end to war by turning 
the enemy to flight, and was requested to take the spoil, he rejected it. (Gen. xiv. 21-23.) 

Again, the son of this great man was reverenced, not because of his riches, but for his 
hospitality: not because of his children, but for his obedience: not because of his wife, but 
for the barrenness inflicted on his wife. (Gen. xxv. 21.) 

They looked upon the present life as nothing, they followed not after gain, they despised 
all things. Tell me, which sort of plants are the best? Are not those which have their strength 
from themselves and are injured neither by rains, nor by hailstorms, nor by gusts of wind, 
nor by any other vicissitude of the sort, but stand naked in defiance of them all, and needing 
neither wall nor fence to protect them? Such is the true philosopher, such is that wealth of 
which we spoke. He has nothing, and has all things: he has all things, and has nothing. For 
a fence is not within, but only without; a wall is not a thing of nature, but only built round 
from without. And what again, I ask, what sort of body is a strong one? Is it not that which 
is in health, and which is overcome neither by hunger nor repletion, nor by cold, nor by 
heat; or is it that which in view of all these things, needs both caterers, and weavers, and 
hunters, and physicians, to give it health? He is the rich man, the true philosopher, who 
needeth none of these things. For this cause it was that this blessed Apostle said, “Bring 
them up in the chastening and admonition of the Lord.” Surround them not with outward 
defenses. For such is wealth, such is glory; for when these fall, and they do fall, the plant 
stands naked and defenseless, not only having derived no profit from them during the time 
past, but even injury. For those very shelters that prevented its being inured to the attacks 
of the winds, will now have prepared it for perishing all at once. And so wealth is injurious 
rather, because it renders us undisciplined for the vicissitudes of life. Let us therefore train 
up our children to be such, that they shall be able to bear up against every trial, and not be 
surprised at what may come upon them; “let us bring them up in the chastening and admon- 
ition of the Lord.” And great will be the reward which will be thus laid up in store for us. 
For if men for making statues and painting portraits of kings enjoy so great honor, shall not 
we who adorn the image of the King of kings, (for man is the image of God,) receive ten 
thousand blessings, if we effect a true likeness? For the likeness is in this, in the virtue of the 
soul, when we train our children to be good, to be meek, to be forgiving, (because all these 
are attributes of God,) to be beneficent, to be humane; when we train them to regard the 
present world as nothing. Let this then be our task, to mold and to direct both ourselves 
and them according to what is right. Otherwise with what sort of boldness shall we stand 
before the judgment-seat of Christ? If a man who has unruly children is unworthy to be a 
Bishop (Tit. i. 6.), much more is he unworthy of the kingdom of Heaven. What sayest thou? 


291 


Ephesians 6:1-3 


If we have an unruly wife, or unruly children, shall we have to render account? Yes, we shall, 
if we do not with exactness bring in that which is due from ourselves; for our own individual 
virtue is not enough in order to salvation. If the man who laid aside the one talent gained 
nothing, but was punished even in such a manner, it is plain that one’s own individual virtue 
is not enough in order to salvation, but there is need of that of another also. Let us therefore 
entertain great solicitude for our wives, and take great care of our children, and of our ser- 
vants, and of ourselves. And in our government both of ourselves and of them, let us beseech 
God that He aid us in the work. If He shall see us interested in this work, and solicitous 
about it, He will aid us; but if He shall see us paying no regard to it, He will not give us His 
hand. For He does not vouchsafe us His assistance when we sleep, but when we labor also 
ourselves. For a helper, (as the name implies,) is not a helper of one that is inactive, but of 
one who works also himself. But the good God is able of Himself to bring the work to per- 
fection, that we may be all counted worthy to attain to the blessings promised us, through 
the grace and compassions of His only begotten Son, with Whom together with the Holy 
Ghost be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now and ever, and throughout all ages. 
Amen. 


292 



Ephesians 6:5-8 


Homily XXII. 

Ephesians vi. 5-8 

“Servants, be obedient unto them that, according to the flesh, are your masters, with fear and 
trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not in the way of eye-service, as 
men-pleasers: but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good- 
will doing service, as unto the Lord, and not unto men: knowing that whatsoever good 
thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive again from the Lord, whether he be bond 
or free. ” 

Thus then it is not husband only, nor wife, nor children, but virtuous servants also that 
contribute to the organization and protection of a house. Therefore the blessed Paul has 
not overlooked this department even. He comes to it, however, in the last place, because it 
is last in dignity and rank. Still he addresses much discourse also to them, no longer in the 
same tone as to children, but in a far more advanced way, inasmuch as he does not hold out 
to these the promise in this world, but in that which is to come. “Knowing,” saith he, “that 
whatsoever good or evil 452 thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord,” and 
thus at once instructs them to love wisdom. For though they be inferior to the children in 
dignity, still in mind they are superior to them. 

“Servants,” saith he, “be obedient to them that, according to the flesh, are your masters.” 
Thus at once he raises up, at once soothes the wounded soul. Be not grieved, he seems 
to say, that you are inferior to the wife and the children. Slavery is nothing but a name. The 
mastership is “according to the flesh,” brief and temporary; 453 for whatever is of the flesh, 
is transitory. 

“With fear,” he adds, “and trembling.” 454 

Thou seest that he does not require the same fear from slaves as from wives: for in that 
case he simply said, “and let the wife see that she fear her husband”; whereas in this case he 
heightens the expression, “with fear,” he saith, “and trembling, in singleness of your heart, 
as unto Christ.” This is what he constantly says. What meanest thou, blessed Paul? He is a 
brother, or rather he has become a brother, he enjoys the same privileges, he belongs to the 


452 [The words, “or evil,” qicaKov, are not in the text of this passage at all, though Chrysostom has them. 
Chrysostom and the Patristic writers in general often quote the New Testament without exactness. They quote 
often from memory, and are seldom critical. Cf. Schaff, Companion to Greek Testament, p. 164. — G.A.] 

453 [“Wrong. It means those who are ‘your human masters,’ in distinction from Christ, the ‘divine’ mas- 
ter.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

454 [“With fear and trembling, i.e. with that zeal which is ever keenly apprehensive of not doing 
enough.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


293 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


same body. Yea, more, he is the brother, not of his own master only, but also of the Son of 
God, he is partaker of all the same privileges; yet sayest thou, “obey your masters according 
to the flesh, with fear and trembling”? Yes, for this very reason, he would say, I say it. For 
if I charge free men to submit themselves one to another in the fear of God, — as he said 
above, “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ”; — if I charge moreover 
the wife to fear and reverence her husband, although she is his equal; much more must I so 
speak to the servant. It is no sign of low birth, rather it is the truest nobility, to understand 
how to lower ourselves, to be modest and unassuming, and to give way to our neighbor. 
And the free have served the free with much fear and trembling. 

“In singleness of heart,” he says. 

And it is well said, since it is possible to serve with fear and trembling, and yet not of 
good will, but in just any way that may be possible. Many servants in many instances secretly 
cheat their masters. And this cheating accordingly he does away, by saying, “in singleness 
of your heart as unto Christ, not in the way of eye-service as men-pleasers, but as servants 
of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good-will doing service, as unto the 
Lord, and not unto men.” Seest thou how many words he requires, in order to implant this 
good principle, “with goodwill,” I mean, and “from the heart”? That other service, “with 
fear and trembling” I mean, we see many rendering to their masters, and the master’s threat 
goes far to secure that. But show, saith he, that thou servest as “the servant of Christ,” not 
of man. Make the right action your own, not one of compulsion. Just as in the words which 
follow, he persuades and instructs the man who is ill-treated by another to make the right 
action his own, and the work of his own free choice. Because inasmuch as the man that 
smites the cheek, is not supposed to come to that act in consequence of any intention in the 
person struck, but only of his own individual malice, what saith He? “Turn to him the other 
also” (Matt. v. 39.); to show him that in submitting to the first thou wert not unwilling. For 
he that is lavish in suffering wrong, makes that his own which is not his own act, by suffering 
himself to be smitten on the other cheek also, and not merely by enduring the first blow. 
For this latter will have perhaps the appearance even of cowardice; but that of a high philo- 
sophy. — Thus thou wilt show that it was for the sake of wisdom that thou didst bear the 
first blow also. And so in the present case, show here too, that thou bearest this slavery also 
willingly. The man-pleaser then is no servant of Christ. The servant of Christ is not a man- 
pleaser. (Gal. i. 10.) For who that is the servant of God, makes it his object to please men? 
And who that pleases men, can be a servant of God? 

“From the heart,” 455 saith he, “with good-will doing service.” For since it is possible to 
do service even with singleness of heart and not wrongfully, and yet not with all one’s might, 


455 [“From the heart” (ek t|A)xnc) is joined by Chrysostom with what follows. (So Westcott and Hort.) But as 
|t£T’ euvolcu; expresses the well-meaning disposition, it already includes the sense of ek t|n>xnc So that ek t|/t>xns 
belongs to what precedes. So Meyer, Ellicott, and Rev. Ver. — G.A.] 


294 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


but only so far as fulfilling one’s bounden duty, therefore he says, do it with alacrity, not of 
necessity, upon principle, not upon constraint. If thus thou do service, thou art no slave; if 
thou do it upon principle, if with good-will, if from the heart, and if for Christ’s sake. For 
this is the servitude that even Paul, the free man, serves, and exclaims, “For we preach not 
ourselves, but Christ Jesus, as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 
iv. 5.) Look how he divests thy slavery of its meanness. For just in the same way as the man 
who has been robbed, if he gives still more to him who has taken, is not ranked among those 
robbed, but rather amongst liberal givers; not amongst those who suffer evil, but amongst 
those who do good; and rather clothes the other with disgrace by his liberality, than is clothed 
with disgrace by being robbed, — so, I say, in this case, by his generosity he will appear at 
once more high-minded, and by showing that he does not feel the wrong, 456 will put the 
other to shame. 

Let us then do service to our masters for Christ’s sake, “knowing,” he continues, “that 
whatsoever good thing each one doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be 
bond or free.” For inasmuch as it was probable that many masters, as being unbelievers, 
would have no sense of shame, and would make no return to their slaves for their obedience, 
observe how he has given them encouragement, so that they may have no misgiving about 
the remuneration, but may have full confidence respecting the recompense. For as they who 
receive a benefit, when they make no return, make God a debtor to their benefactors; so, I 
say, do masters also, if, when well- treated by thee, they fail to requite thee, requite thee the 
more, by rendering God thy debtor. 

Ver. 9. “And ye masters,” he continues, “do the same things unto them.” 

The same things. What are these? “With good-will do service.” However he does not 
actually say, “do service,” though by saying, “the same things,” he plainly shows this to be 
his meaning. For the master himself is a servant. “Not as men-pleasers,” he means, “and 
with fear and trembling”: that is, toward God, fearing lest He one day accuse you for your 
negligence toward your slaves. 

“And forbear threatening;” be not irritating, he means, nor oppressive. 

“Knowing that both their Master and 457 yours is in Heaven.” 458 


456 apnayfjc;. 

457 [The second Kai (Kai aurtbv Kai uptbv) is omitted in Chrysostom’s text of this passage, and in the textus 
receptus , so that it does not appear in the Authorized English Version. The Revised Version has it, however, and 
correctly so. — G.A.] 

458 [Meyer quotes Seneca, Thyest. 607: — Quicquid a vobis minor extimescit Major hoc vobis dominus minatur. 
Omne sub regno graviore regnum est. — G.A.] 


295 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


Ah! How mighty a Master does he hint at here! How startling the suggestion! It is this. 
“With what measure thou metest, it shall be measured unto thee again” (Matt. vii. 2.); lest 
thou hear the sentence, “Thou wicked servant. I forgave thee all that debt.” (Matt, xviii. 32.) 

“And there is no respect of persons,” he saith, “with Him.” 

Think not, he would say, that what is done towards a servant, He will therefore forgive, 
because done to a servant. Heathen laws indeed as being the laws of men, recognize a differ- 
ence between these kinds of offenses. But the law of the common Lord and Master of all, as 
doing good to all alike, and dispensing the same rights to all, knows no such difference. 

But should any one ask, whence is slavery, and why it has found entrance into human 
life, (and many I know are both glad to ask such questions, and desirous to be informed of 
them,) I will tell you. Slavery is the fruit of covetousness, of degradation, of savagery; since 
Noah, we know, had no servant, nor had Abel, nor Seth, no, nor they who came after them. 
The thing was the fruit of sin, of rebellion against parents. Let children hearken to this, that 
whenever they are undutiful to their parents, they deserve to be servants. Such a child strips 
himself of his nobility of birth; for he who rebels against his father is no longer a son; and 
if he who rebels against his father is not a son, how shall he be a son who rebels against our 
true Father? He has departed from his nobility of birth, he has done outrage to nature. Then 
come also wars, and battles, and take their prisoners. 459 Well, but Abraham, you will say, 
had servants. Yes, but he used them not as servants. 

Observe how everything depends upon the head; the wife, by telling him “to love her”; 
the children, by telling him “to bring them up in the chastening and admonition of the 
Lord”; the servants, by the words, “knowing that both their Master and yours is in Heaven.” 
So, saith he, ye also in like manner, as being yourselves servants, shall be kind and indulgent. 
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” 

But if, before considering this next, ye have a mind to hearken, I shall make the same 
remarks concerning servants, as I have also made before concerning children. Teach them 
to be religious, and everything else will follow of necessity. But now, when any one is going 
to the theater, or going off to the bath, he drags all his servants after him; but when he goes 
to church, not for a moment; nor does he compel them to attend and hear. Now how shall 
thy servant listen, when thou his master art attending to other things? Hast thou purchased, 
hast thou bought thy slave? Before all things enjoin him what God would have him do, to 
be gentle towards his fellow- servants, and to make much account of virtue. 

Every one’s house is a city; and every man is a prince in his own house. That the house 
of the rich is of this character, is plain enough, where there are both lands, and stewards, 
and rulers over rulers. But I say that the house of the poor also is a city. Because here too 


459 [He seems to refer slavery to three causes: 1. covetousness; 2. rebellion against parents; 3. war, where 
prisoners are taken and made slaves. — G.A.] 


296 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


there are offices of authority; for instance, the husband has authority over the wife, the wife 
over the servants, the servants again over their own wives; again the wives and the husbands 
over the children. Does he not seem to you to be, as it were, a sort of king, having so many 
authorities under his own authority? and that it were meet that he should be more skilled 
both in domestic and general government than all the rest? For he who knows how to 
manage these in their several relations, will know how to select the fittest men for offices, 
yes, and will choose excellent ones. And thus the wife will be a second king in the house, 
lacking only the diadem; and he who knows how to choose this king, will excellently regulate 
all the rest. 

Ver. 10. “Finally,” saith he, “be strong in the Lord.” 

Whenever the discourse is about to conclude, he always employs this turn. Said I not 
well from the first, that every man’s house is a camp in itself? For look, having disposed of 
the several offices, he proceeds to arm them, and to lead them out to war. 460 If no one usurps 
the other’s office, but every one remains at his post, all will be well ordered. 

“Be strong,” saith he, “in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” 

That is, in the hope which we have in Him, by means of His aid. For as he had enjoined 
many duties, which were necessary to be done, fear not, he seems to say, cast your hope 
upon the Lord, and He will make all easy. 

Ver. 11. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles 
of the devil.” 

He saith not, against the fightings, nor against the hostilities, but against the “wiles.” 
For this enemy is at war with us, not simply, nor openly, but by “wiles.” What is meant by 
wiles? To use “wiles,” is to deceive and to take by artifice or contrivance; a thing which takes 
place both in the case of the arts, and by words, and actions, and stratagems, in the case of 
those who seduce us. I mean something like this. The Devil never proposes to us sins in 
their proper colors; he does not speak of idolatry, but he sets it off in another dress, using 
“wiles,” 461 that is, making his discourse plausible, employing disguises. Now therefore the 
Apostle is by this means both rousing the soldiers, and making them vigilant, by persuading 
and instructing them, that our conflict is with one skilled in the arts of war, and with one 
who wars not simply, nor directly, but with much wiliness. And first then he arouses the 
disciples from the consideration of the Devil’s skill; but in the second place, from his nature, 
and the number of his forces. It is not from any desire to dispirit the soldiers that stand 
under him, but to arouse, and to awaken them, that he mentions these stratagems, and 
prepares them to be vigilant; for had he merely detailed their power, and there stopped his 


460 [This is very beautiful, but hardly correct exegesis. “The word ‘finally’ introduces a general, final exhortation, 
winding up the whole parenetic portion of the epistle (iv. i-vi. 9.).” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

461 peBoSeutov. 


297 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


discourse, he must have dispirited them. But now, whereas both before and after this, he 
shows that it is possible to overcome such an enemy, he rather raises their courage; for the 
more clearly the strength of our adversaries is stated on our part to our own people, so much 
the more earnest will it render our soldiers. 

Ver. 12. “For our wrestling is not,” saith he, “against flesh and blood, 462 but against the 
principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the 
spiritual hosts of wickedness, in the heavenly places.” 

Having stimulated them by the character of the conflict, he next goes on to arouse them 
also by the prizes set before them. For what is his argument? Having said that the enemies 
are fierce, he adds further, that they despoil us of vast blessings. What are these? The conflict 
lies “in the heavenlies”; 463 the struggle is not about riches, not about glory, but about our 
being enslaved. And thus is the enmity irreconcilable. The strife and the conflict are fiercer 
when for vast interests at stake; for the expression “in the heavenlies” 464 is equivalent to, 
“for the heavenly things.” It is not that they may gain anything by the conquest, but that 
they may despoil us. As if one were to say, “In what does the contract lie?” In gold. The word 
“in,” means, “in behalf of’; the word “in,” also means, “on account 465 of.” 466 Observe how 
the power of the enemy startles us; how it makes us all circumspection, to know that the 
hazard is on behalf of vast interests, and the victory for the sake of great rewards. For he is 
doing his best to cast us out of Heaven. 

He speaks of certain “principalities, and powers, and world-rulers of this darkness.” 
What darkness? Is it that of night? No, but of wickedness. “For ye were,” saith he, “once 
darkness” (Eph. v. 8.); so naming that wickedness which is in this present life; for beyond 
it, it will have no place, not in Heaven, nor in the world to come. 

“World-rulers” 467 he calls them, not as having the mastery over the world, but the 
Scripture is wont to call wicked practices “the world,” as, for example, where Christ saith, 
“They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world.” (John xvii. 16.) What then, were 
they not of the world? Were they not clothed with flesh? Were they not of those who are in 
the world? And again; “The world hateth Me, but you it cannot hate.” (John vii. 7.) Where 


462 [“Flesh and blood, i.e. ‘feeble men,’ just as in Gal. i. 16, and Matt. xvi. 17. The word TtdXr|, which means 
nothing else than a ‘wrestling,’ is specially chosen by the Apostle (who elsewhere uses crytov or payri), in order 
to bring out the more strongly in connection with 7ipoc; alpa Kai aapKa the contrast between this less perilous 
form of contest and that which follows.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

463 ev role; eroupaviou;. 

464 ev role; eroupaviou;. 

465 [“The word ev does not mean ‘for’ or ‘on account of,’ and the phrase is here local (i. 3.).” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

466 to ev imep eon, Kai to ev, 6ia eoTiv. 

467 KoapoKpaTopac;. 


298 


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again He calls wicked practices by this name. Thus the Apostle here by the world means 
wicked men, and the evil spirits have more especial power over them. “Against the spiritual 
hosts of wickedness,” saith he, “in the heavenly places.” “Principalities, and powers,” he 
speaks of; just as in the heavenly places there are “thrones and dominions, principalities 
and powers.” (Col. i. 16.) 

Ver. 13. “Wherefore,” saith he, “take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able 
to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.” 

By “evil day” he means the present life, and calls it too “this present evil world” (Gal. 
i. 4.), from the evils which are done in it. It is as much as to say, Always be armed. And again, 
“having done all,” saith he; that is, both passions, and vile lusts, and all things else that 
trouble us. He speaks not merely of doing the deed, but of completing it, 469 so as not only 
to slay, but to stand also after we have slain. For many who have gained this victory, have 
fallen again. “Having done,” saith he, “all”; not having done one, but not the other. For even 
after the victory, we must stand. An enemy may be struck, but things that are struck revive 
again if we do not stand. But if after having fallen they rise up again, so long as we stand, 
they are fallen. So long as we waver not, the adversary rises not again. 

“Let us put on the whole armor of God.” Seest thou how he banishes all fear? For if it 
be possible “to do all, and to stand,” his describing in detail the power of the enemy does 
not create cowardice and fear, but it shakes off indolence. “That ye may be able,” he saith, 
“to withstand in the evil day.” And he further gives them encouragement too from the time; 
the time, he seems to say, is short; 470 so that ye must needs stand; faint not when the slaughter 
is achieved. 

Moral. If then it is a warfare, if such are the forces arrayed against us, if “the principalities” 
are incorporeal, if they are “rulers of the world,” if they are “the spiritual hosts of wickedness,” 
how, tell me, canst thou live in self-indulgence? How canst thou be dissolute? How if we 
are unarmed, shall we be able to overcome? These words let every one repeat to himself 
every day, whenever he is under the influence of anger, or of lust, whenever he is aiming, 
and all to no profit, after this languid life. Let him hearken to the blessed Paul, saying to 
him, “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the 
powers.” A harder warfare this than that which is matter of sense, a fiercer conflict. Think 
how long time this enemy is wrestling, for what it is that he is fighting, and be more guarded 


468 [“The use of fyiEpa, rather than ai& 242-vi (Gal. i. 4.) is opposed to the interpretation of Chrysostom. Still 
more untenable is the view of Meyer, that Paul is here specifying the day when the last great Satanic outbreak 
was to take place. Paul has at heart what he knew was much more present and more constantly impending, 
namely, the day of violent temptation.” — Ellicott. — G.A.] 

469 Not epyaodpevoi, but KaTEpyaadpevoi. 

470 i.e. “but a ‘day.’” 


299 


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than ever. “Nay,” a man will say, “but as he is the devil, he ought to have been removed out 
of the way, and then all had been saved.” 471 These are the pretenses to which some of your 
indolent ones in self-defense give utterance. When thou oughtest to be thankful, O man, 
that, if thou hast a mind, thou hast the victory over such a foe, thou art on the contrary even 
discontented, and givest utterance to the words of some sluggish and sleepy soldier. Thou 
knowest the points of attack, if thou choosest. Reconnoiter on all sides, fortify thyself. 
Not against the devil alone is the conflict, but also against his powers. How then, you may 
say, are we to wrestle with the darkness? By becoming light. How with the “spiritual hosts 
of wickedness”? By becoming good. For wickedness is contrary to good, and light drives 
away darkness. But if we ourselves too be darkness, we shall inevitably be taken captive. 
How then shall we overcome them? If, what they are by nature, that we become by choice, 
free from flesh and blood, thus shall we vanquish them. For once it was probable that the 
disciples would have many persecutors, “imagine not,” he would say, “that it is they who 
war with you. They that really war with you, are the spirits that work in them. Against them 
is our conflict.” Two things he provides for by these considerations; he renders them in 
themselves more courageous and he lets loose their wrath against those who war against 
them. And wherefore is our conflict against these? Since we have also an invincible ally, the 
grace of the Spirit. We have been taught an art, such as shall enable us to wrestle not against 
men, but against spirits. Nay, if we have a mind, neither shall we wrestle at all; for it is because 
we choose it, that there is a struggle, since so great is the power of Him that dwelleth in us, 
as that He said, “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, 
and over all the power of the enemy.” (Luke x. 19.) All power hath He given us, both of 
wrestling and of not wrestling. It is because we are slothful, that we have to wrestle with 
them; for that Paul wrestled not, hear what he saith himself, “Who shall separate us from 
the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or 
peril, or sword?” (Rom. viii. 35.) And again hear his words, “God shall bruise Satan under 
your feet shortly.” (Rom. xvi. 20.) For he had him under his subjection; whence also he said, 
“I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” (Acts xvi. 18.) And this is 
not the language of one wrestling; for he that wrestles has not yet conquered, and he that 
has conquered no longer wrestles; he has subdued, has taken his captive. And so Peter again 
wrestled not with the devil, but he did that which was better than wrestling. In the case of 
the faithful, the obedient, the catechumens, they prevailed over him to vast advantage and 


471 [This entire sentence and the preceding one, though attested by three mss. and read by Savile, are wanting 
in the text of Field, who has, in their stead, Nuv of>v tjX0£, cpt]aiv, egoi TtaXalacu, “Now then,” says some one, “he 
has come to wrestle with me,” which seems to leave the sense incomplete, and does not suit the following sentence. 
See note on page 82. — G.A.] 

472 Xa|3cu;. 


300 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


over his powers. Hence too was it that the blessed Paul said, “For we are not ignorant of his 
devices” (2 Cor. ii. 11.), which was the way moreover in which he especially overcame him; 
and again hear his words, “And no marvel — if his ministers also fashion themselves as 
ministers of righteousness.” (2 Cor. xi. 14, 15.) So well knew he every part of the conflict, 
and nothing escaped him. Again, “For the mystery of lawlessness,” saith he, “doth already 
work.” (2 Thess. ii. 7.) 

But against us is the struggle; for hearken again to him, saying, “I am persuaded, that 
neither angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 
any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Christ.” (Rom. viii. 38.) He 
saith not simply, “from Christ,” but, “from the love of Christ.” ~ For many there are who 
are united forsooth to Christ, and who yet love Him not. Not only, saith he, shalt thou not 
persuade me to deny Him, but, not even to love Him less. And if the powers above had not 
strength to do this, who else should move him? Not, however, that he saith this, as though 
they were actually attempting it, but upon the supposition; wherefore also he said, “I am 
persuaded.” So then he did not wrestle, yet nevertheless he fears his artifices; for hear what 
he saith, “I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds 
should be corrupted from the simplicity that is toward Christ.” (2 Cor. xi. 3.) True, you will 
say, but he uses this word touching himself also, where he saith, “For I fear 474 lest, by any 
means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” How then art thou 
“persuaded that no one shall separate thee”? Perceivest thou that the expression is that of 
lowliness and of humility? For he already dwelt in Heaven. And hence also it was that he 
said, “For I know nothing against myself’ (1 Cor. iv. 4.); and again, “I have finished the 
course.” (2 Tim. iv. 7.) So that it was not with regard to these matters that the devil placed 
obstacles in his way, but with reference to the interests of the disciples. And why forsooth? 
Because in these points he was not himself sole master, but also their own will. There the 
devil prevailed in some cases; nay, neither there was it over him that he prevailed, but over 
the indolence of persons who took no heed. If indeed, whether from slothfulness, or anything 
else of the sort, he had failed to fulfill his own duty, then had the devil prevailed over him; 
but if he himself on his part did all he could, and they obeyed not it was not over him he 
prevailed, but over their disobedience; and the disease prevailed not over the physician, but 
over the unruliness of the patient; for, when the physician takes every precaution, and the 
patient undoes all, the patient is defeated, not the physician. Thus then in no instance did 
he prevail over Paul. But in our own case, it is matter for contentment that we should be so 
much as able to wrestle. For the Romans indeed this is not what he asks, but what? “He shall 
bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. xvi. 20.) And for these Ephesians he invokes, 


473 [This text in Rom. has, “from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — G.A.] 

474 [The words, “I fear,” cpo|3oupaL yap, are not in the text of 1 Cor. ix. 27. See note 1 on page 157. — G.A.] 

301 


Ephesians 6:5-8 


“Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph. iii. 20.) 
He that wrestles is still held fast, but it is enough for him that he has not fallen. When we 
depart hence, then, and not till then, will the glorious victory be achieved. For instance, take 
the case of some evil lust. The extraordinary thing would be, not even to entertain it, but to 
stifle it. If, however, this be not possible, then though we may have to wrestle with it, and 
retain it to the last, yet if we depart still wrestling, we are conquerors. For the case is not the 
same here as it is with wrestlers; for there if thou throw not thy antagonist, thou hast not 
conquered; but here if thou be not thrown, thou hast conquered; if thou art not thrown, 
thou hast thrown him; and with reason, because there both strive for the victory, and when 
the one is thrown, the other is crowned; here, however, it is not thus, but the devil is striving 
for our defeat; when then I strip him of that upon which he is bent, I am conqueror. For it 
is not to overthrow us, but to make us share his overthrow that he is eager. Already then 
am I conqueror, for he is already cast down, and in a state of ruin; and his victory consists 
not in being himself crowned, but in effecting my ruin; so that though I overthrow him not, 
yet if I be not overthrown, I have conquered. What then is a glorious victory? It is, over and 
above, to trample him underfoot, as Paul did, by regarding the things of this present world 
as nothing. Fet us too imitate him, and strive to become above them, and nowhere to give 
him a hold upon us. Wealth, possessions, vain-glory, give him a hold. And oftentimes indeed 
this has roused him, and oftentimes exasperated him. But what need is there of wrestling? 
What need of engaging with him? He who is engaged in the act of wrestling has the issue 
in uncertainty, whether he may not be himself defeated and captured. Whereas he that 
tramples him under foot, has the victory certain. 

Oh then, let us trample under foot the power of the devil; let us trample under foot our 
sins, I mean everything that pertains to this life, wrath, lust, vain-glory, every passion; that 
when we depart to that world, we may not be convicted of betraying that power which God 
hath given us; for thus shall we attain also the blessings that are to come. But if in this we 
are unfaithful, who will entrust us with those things which are greater? If we were not able 
to trample down one who had fallen, who had been disgraced, who had been despised, who 
was lying beneath our feet, how shall the Father give us a Father’s rewards? If we subdue 
not one so placed in subjection to us, what confidence shall we have to enter into our Father’s 
house? For, tell me, suppose thou hadst a son, and, that he, disregarding the well-disposed 
part of thy household, should associate with them that have distressed thee, with them that 
have been expelled his father’s house, with them that spend their time at the gaming table, 
and that he should go on so doing to the very last; will he not be disinherited? It is plain 
enough he will. And so too shall we; if, disregarding the Angels who have well pleased our 
Father and whom He hath set over us, we have our conversation with the devil, inevitably 


302 


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we shall be disinherited, which God forbid; but let us engage in the war we have to wage 
with him. 

If any one hath an enemy, if any one hath been wronged by him, if any one is exasperated, 
let him collect together all that wrath, all that fierceness, and pour it out upon the head of 
the devil. Here wrath is a good thing, here anger is profitable, here revenge is praiseworthy, 
for just as amongst the heathen, revenge is a vice, so truly here is revenge a virtue. So then 
if thou hast any failings, rid thyself of them here. And if thou art not able thyself to put them 
away, do it, though with thy members also . 475 Hath any one struck thee? Bear malice against 
the devil, and never relinquish thy hatred towards him. Or again, hath no one struck thee? 
Yet bear him malice still, because he insulted, because he offended thy Lord and Master, 
because he injures and wars against thy brethren. With him be ever at enmity, ever implac- 
able, ever merciless. Thus shall he be humbled, thus despicable, thus shall he be an easy 
prey. If we are fierce towards him, he shall never be fierce towards us. If we are compliant, 
then he will be fierce; it is not with him as it is with our brethren. He is the foe and enemy, 
both of life and salvation, both ours and his own. If he loves not himself, how shall he be 
able to love us? Let us then put ourselves in array and wound him, having for our mighty 
confederate the Lord Jesus Christ, who can both render us impregnable to his snares, and 
worthy of the good things to come; which God grant that we may all attain, through the 
grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom, together with the Holy 
Ghost, be unto the Father, glory, might, and honor, now and ever, and throughout all ages. 
Amen. 


475 [We have here followed the text of Savile (supported by three mss.), as follows: el Se pr] duvaoai auroc; 
aTto0£a0cu, Kav p£Ta tu>v psXtov Tti)v au>v, in preference to the text of Field, which has el pr| duvaocu aura 
aTt0o£a0cu, rj p£ra rtov pEXtov Tti)v atov. — G.A.] 


303 



Ephesians 6:14 


Homily XXIII. 

Ephesians vi. 14 

“Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” 

Having drawn up this army, and roused their zeal, — for both these things were requisite, 
both that they should be drawn up in array and subject to each other, and that their spirit 
should be aroused, — and having inspired them with courage, for this was requisite also, he 
next proceeds also to arm them. For arms had been of no use, had they not been first posted 
each in his own place, and had not the spirit of the soldier’s soul been roused; for we must 
first arm him within, and then without. 

Now if this is the case with soldiers, much more is it with spiritual soldiers. Or rather 
in their case, there is no such thing as arming them without, but everything is within. He 
hath roused their ardor, and set it on fire, he hath added confidence. He hath set them in 
due array. Observe how he also puts on the armor. “Stand therefore,” 476 saith he. The very 
first feature in tactics is, to know how to stand well, and many things will depend upon that. 
Hence he discourses much concerning standing, saying also elsewhere, “Watch ye, stand 
fast.” (1 Cor. xvi. 13.) And again, “So stand fast in the Lord.” (Philip, iv. 1.) And again, “Let 
him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. x. 12.) And again, “That ye 
may be able, having done all, to stand.” (Eph. vi. 13.) Doubtless then he does not mean 
merely any way of standing, but a correct way, and as many as have had experience in wars 
know how great a point it is to know how to stand. For if in the case of boxers and wrestlers, 
the trainer recommends this before anything else, namely, to stand firm, much more will 
it be the first thing in warfare, and military matters. 

The man who, in a true sense, stands, is upright; he stands not in a lazy attitude, not 
leaning upon anything. Exact uprightness discovers itself by the way of standing, so that 
they who are perfectly upright, they stand. But they who do not stand, cannot be upright, 
but are unstrung and disjointed. The luxurious man does not stand upright, but is bent; so 
is the lewd man, and the lover of money. He who knows how to stand will from his very 
standing, as from a sort of foundation, find every part of the conflict easy to him. 

477 

“Stand therefore,” saith he, “having girded your loins with truth.” 


476 [“‘Stand,’ here, is not, like the preceding crrf|vaL (in verse 13), the standing of the victor, but the ‘standing 
forth of the man ready for the combat.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

477 Compare Isa. xi. 5. 


304 


Ephesians 6:14 


He is not speaking of a literal, physical girdle, for all the language in this passage he 
employs in a spiritual sense. And observe how methodically he proceeds. First he girds 
up his soldier . 479 What then is the meaning of this? The man that is loose in his life, and is 
dissolved in his lusts, and that has his thoughts trailing on the ground, him he braces up by 
means of this girdle, not suffering him to be impeded by the garments entangling his legs, 
but leaving him to run with his feet well at liberty. “Stand therefore, having girded your 
loins,” saith he. By the “loins” here he means this; just what the keel is in ships, the same 
are the loins with us, the basis or groundwork of the whole body: for they are, as it were, a 
foundation, and upon them as the schools of the physicians tell you, the whole frame is 
built. So then in “girding up the loins” he compacts the foundation of our soul; for he is not 
of course speaking of these loins of our body, but is discoursing spiritually: and as the loins 
are the foundation alike of the parts both above and below, so is it also in the case of these 
spiritual loins. Oftentimes, we know, when persons are fatigued, they put their hands there 
as if upon a sort of foundation, and in that manner support themselves; and for this reason 
it is that the girdle is used in war, that it may bind and hold together this foundation, as it 
were, in our frame; for this reason too it is that when we run we gird ourselves. It is this 
which guards our strength. Let this then, saith he, be done also with respect to the soul, and 
then in doing anything whatsoever we shall be strong; and it is a thing most especially be- 
coming to soldiers. 

True, you may say, but these our natural loins we gird with a leathern band; but we, 
spiritual soldiers, with what? I answer, with that which is the head and crown of all our 
thoughts, I mean, “with truth.” “Having girded your loins,” saith he, “with truth .” 480 What 
then is the meaning of “with truth”? Let us love nothing like falsehood, all our duties let us 
pursue “with truth,” let us not lie one to another. Whether it be an opinion, let us seek the 
truth, or whether it be a line of life, let us seek the true one. If we fortify ourselves with this, 
if we “gird ourselves with truth,” then shall no one overcome us. He who seeks the doctrine 
of truth, shall never fall down to the earth; for that the things which are not true are of the 
earth, is evident from this, that all they that are without are enslaved to the passions, following 
their own reasonings; and therefore if we are sober, we shall need no instruction in the tales 
of the Greeks. Seest thou how weak and frivolous they are? incapable of entertaining about 
God one severe thought or anything above human reasoning? Why? Because they are not 


478 voi]Td)<;. 

479 [“As for the actual warrior, the whole aptus habitus (prepared state) for the combat would be wanting in 
the absence of the girdle; so also for the spiritual warrior, if he is not furnished with truth.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

480 [“It is clear that truth does not mean ‘objectively the gospel,’ for that is designated later, ver. 17, by pijpa 
0£ou (‘the word of God’), but ‘subjectively,’ truth as an inward property, i.e. the ‘harmony of knowledge with 
the objective truth given in the gospel.’” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


305 


Ephesians 6:14 


“girded about with truth”; because their loins, the receptacle of the seed of life, and the main 
strength of their reasonings, are ungirt; nothing then can be weaker than these. And the 

AO 1 

Manicheans again, seest thou, how all the things they have the boldness to utter, are from 

their own reasonings? “It was impossible,” say they, “for God to create the world without 
matter.” Whence is this so evident? These things they say, groveling, and from the earth, 
and from what happens amongst ourselves; because man, they say, cannot create otherwise. 
Marcion again, look what he says. “God, if He took upon Him flesh, could not remain pure.” 
Whence is this evident? “Because,” says he, “neither can men.” But men are able to do this. 
Valentinus again, with his reasonings all trailing along the ground, speaks the things of the 
earth; and in like manner Paul of Samosata. And Arius, what does he say? “It was impossible 
for God when He begat, to beget without passion.” Whence, Arius, hast thou the boldness 
to allege this; merely from the things which take place amongst ourselves? Seest thou how 
the reasonings of all these trail along on the ground? All are, as it were, let loose and uncon- 
fined, and savoring of the earth? And so much then for doctrines. With regard to life and 
conduct, again, whoremongers, lovers of money, and of glory, and of everything else, trail 
on the ground. They have not their loins themselves standing firm, so that when they are 
weary they may rest upon them; but when they are weary, they do not put their hands upon 
them and stand upright, but flag. He, however, who “is girt about with the truth,” first, 
never is weary; and secondly, if he should be weary, he will rest himself upon the truth itself. 
What? Will poverty, tell me, render him weary? No, in nowise; for he will repose on the true 
riches, and by this poverty will understand what is true poverty. Or again, will slavery make 
him weary? No, in nowise, for he will know what is the true slavery. Or shall disease? No, 
nor even that. “Let your loins,” saith Christ, “be girded about, and your lamps burning” 
(Luke xii. 35.), with that light which shall never be put out. This is what the Israelites also, 
when they were departing out of Egypt (Ex. xii. 11.), were charged to do. For why did they 
eat the passover with their loins girded? Art thou desirous to hear the ground of it? According 

mo 

to the historical fact, or according to its mystical sense, shall I state it? But I will state 


481 The Manichees considered matter to be uncreate; vid. Note on St. Augustine’s Confessions , i. b. The 
Marcionites considered matter intrinsically evil; vid. Theod. Hcer. i. 24. Valentinus denied that our Lord was 
born of the substance of Mary; vid. St. Cyril, Lect. iv. 9. Paul of Samosata and Arius both denied His Godhead. 

482 cmaGux;. 

483 The word dvaytoyr), when used of Scripture exposition, has various senses, but always implies an inter- 
pretation not literal, grammatical, or historical. Sometimes it stands for a “moral” interpretation, i.e. one con- 
veying a moral lesson; e.g. Chrys. in Psalm cxix. (120) init.; Basil, in Esai. v. § 152. Sometimes for an interpretation 
with reference simply to heavenly persons and things; vid. Mosheim, deReb. ante Const, p. 644; Dionys. Hierarch 
Ccel. i. 2. Origen enumerates three senses of Scripture, literal, moral, and mystical, the last being either allegor- 
ical or anagogical; Clement four, literal, moral, mystical, and prophetical; but the more common division has 


306 


Ephesians 6:14 


them both, and do ye retain it in mind, for I am not doing it without an object, merely that 
I may tell you the solution, but also that my words may become in you reality. They had, 
we read, their loins girded, and their staff in their hands, and their shoes on their feet, and 
thus they ate the Passover. Awful and terrible mysteries, and of vast depth; and if so terrible 
in the type, how much more in the reality? They come forth out of Egypt, they eat the Pas- 
sover. Attend. “Our Passover hath been sacrificed, even Christ,” it is said. Wherefore did 
they have their loins girded? Their guise is that of wayfarers; for their having shoes, and 
staves in their hands, and their eating standing, declares nothing else than this. Will ye hear 
the history first, or the mystery? 484 Better the history first. What then is the design of the 
history? The Jews were continually forgetting God’s benefits to them. Accordingly then, 
God tied the sense of these, His benefits, not only to the time, but also to the very habit of 
them that were to eat. For this is why they were to eat girded and sandalled, that when they 
were asked the reason, they might say, “we were ready for our journey, we were just about 
to go forth out of Egypt to the land of promise and we were ready for our exodus.” This 
then is the historical type. But the reality is this; we too eat a Passover, even Christ; “for,” 
saith he, “our Passover hath been sacrificed, even Christ.” (1 Cor. v. 7.) What then? We too 
ought to eat it, both sandalled and girded. And why? That we too may be ready for our Ex- 
odus, for our departure hence. 

Moral. Let not any one of them that eat this Passover look towards Egypt, but towards 
Heaven, towards “Jerusalem that is above.” (Gal. iv. 26.) On this account thou eatest with 
thy loins girded, on this account thou eatest with shoes on thy feet, that thou mayest know, 
that from the moment thou first beginnest to eat the Passover, thou oughtest to set out, and 
to be upon thy journey. And this implies two things, both that we must depart out of Egypt, 
and that, whilst we stay, we must stay henceforth as in a strange country; “for our citizenship,” 
saith he, “is in Heaven” (Philip, iii. 20.); and that all our life long we should ever be prepared, 
so that when we are called we may not put it off, but say, “My heart is fixed.” (Ps. cviii. 1.) 
“Yes, but this Paul indeed could say, who knew nothing against himself; but I, who require 
a long time for repentance, I cannot say it.” Yet that to be girded is the part of a waking soul, 
hearken to what God says to that righteous man, “Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I 
will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me.” (Job xxxviii. 3.) This He says also to all the 
prophets, and this He says again to Moses, to be girded. And He Himself also appears to 
Ezekiel (Ezek. ix. 1 1 , Sept.) girded. Nay more, and the Angels, too, appear to us girded (Rev. 


been into literal, tropological, allegorical, and anagogical. [Cassian, a pupil of Chrysostom, defines dvayu)yf|: 
Anagoge vero de spiritalibus mysteriis ad sublimiora quaedam et sacratiora coelorum secreta conscendens, “leading 
up from spiritual mysteries to higher and more sacred secrets of heaven.” See also Sophocles’ Greek Lex. sub 
“voce.” — G.A.] 

484 dvayu)yf|v. 


307 


Ephesians 6:14 


xv. 6.), as being soldiers. From our being girded about, it comes that we also stand bravely 
as from our standing our being girded comes. 

For we also are going to depart, and many are the difficulties that intervene. When we 
have crossed this plain, straightway the devil is upon us, doing everything, contriving every 
artifice, to the end that those who have been saved out of Egypt, those who have passed the 
Red Sea, those who are delivered at once from the evil demons, and from unnumbered 
plagues, may be taken and destroyed by him. But, if we be vigilant, we too have a pillar of 
fire, the grace of the Spirit. The same both enlightens and overshadows us. We have manna; 
yea rather not manna, but far more than manna. Spiritual drink we have, not water, that 
springs forth from the Rock. So have we too our encampment (Rev. xx. 9.), and we dwell 
in the desert even now; for a desert indeed without virtue, is the earth even now, even more 
desolate than that wilderness. Why was that desert so terrible? Was it not because it had 
scorpions in it, and adders? (Deut. viii. 15.) “A land,” it is said, “which none passed through.” 
(Jer. ii. 6.). Yet is not that wilderness, no, it is not so barren of fruits, as is this human nature. 
At this instant, how many scorpions, how many asps are in this wilderness, how many ser- 
pents, how many “offsprings of vipers” (Matt. iii. 7.) are these through whom we at this in- 
stant pass! Yet let us not be afraid; for the leader of this our Exodus is not Moses, but Jesus. 

How then is it that we shall not suffer the same things? Let us not commit the same acts, 
and then shall we not suffer the same punishment. They murmured, they were ungrateful; 
let us therefore not cherish these passions. How was it that they fell all of them? “They des- 
pised the pleasant land.” (Ps. cvi. 24.) “How ‘despised’ it? Surely they prized it highly.” By 
becoming indolent and cowardly, and not choosing to undergo any labors to obtain it. Let 
not us then “despise” Heaven! This is what is meant by “despising.” Again, among us also 
has fruit been brought, fruit from Heaven, not the cluster of grapes borne upon the staff 
(Num. xiii. 23.), but the “earnest of the Spirit” (2 Cor. i. 22.), “the citizenship which is in 
Heaven” (Philip, iii. 20.), which Paul and the whole company of the Apostles, those marvelous 
husbandmen, have taught us. It is not Caleb the son of Jephunneh, nor Jesus the son of Nun, 
that hath brought these fruits; but Jesus the Son of “the Father of mercies” (2 Cor. i. 3.), the 
Son of the Very God, hath brought every virtue, hath brought down from Heaven all the 
fruits that are from thence, the songs of heaven hath He brought. For the words which the 

^or 

Cherubim above say, these hath He charged us to say also, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” He hath 
brought to us the virtue of the Angels. “The Angels marry not, neither are given in marriage” 
(Matt. xxii. 30.); this fair plant hath He planted here also. They love not money, nor anything 
like it; and this too hath He sown amongst us. They never die; and this hath He freely given 


485 [For the use of these words in the church service, see Bingham, Antiquities , xv. 3, 10, and Horn. III. on 
Ephesians. — G. A. ] 


308 


Ephesians 6:14 


us also, for death is no longer death, but sleep. For hearken to what He saith, “Our friend 
Lazarus is fallen asleep.” (John xi. 11.) 

Seest thou then the fruits of “Jerusalem that is above”? (Gal. iv. 26.) And what is indeed 
more stupendous than all is this, that our warfare is not decided, but all these things are 
given us before the attainment of the promise! For they indeed toiled even after they had 
entered into the land of promise; — rather, they toiled not, for had they chosen to obey God, 
they might have taken all the cities, without either arms or array. Jericho, we know, they 
overturned, more after the fashion of dancers than of warriors. We however have no warfare 
after we have entered into the land of promise, that is, into Heaven, but only so long as we 
are in the wilderness, that is, in the present life. “For he that is entered into his rest hath 
himself also rested from his works as God did from His.” (Heb. iv. 10.) “Let us not then be 
weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. vi. 9.) Seest thou 
how that just as He led them, so also He leads us? In their case, touching the manna and the 
wilderness, it is said, “He that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little 
had no lack.” (Ex. xvi. 18.) And we have this charge given us, “not to lay up treasure upon 
the earth.” (Matt. vi. 19.) But if we do lay up treasure, it is no longer the earthly worm that 

AOfZ 

corrupts it, as was the case with the manna, but that which dwelleth eternally with fire. 

Let us then “subdue all things,” that we furnish not food to this worm. For “he,” it is said, 
“who gathered much had nothing over.” For this too happens with ourselves also every day. 
We all of us have but the same capacity of hunger to satisfy. And that which is more than 
this, is but an addition of cares. For what He intended in after-times to deliver, saying, 
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’ (Matt. vi. 34), this had He thus been teaching 
even from the very beginning, and not even thus did they receive it. But as to us, let us 
not be insatiable, let us not be discontented, let us not be seeking out for splendid houses; 
for we are on our pilgrimage, not at home; so that if there be any that knows that the present 
life is a sort of journey, and expedition, and, as one might say, it is what they call an en- 
trenched camp, he will not be seeking for splendid buildings. For who, tell me, be he ever 
so rich, would choose to build a splendid house in an encampment? No one; he would be 
a laughing stock, he would be building for his enemies, and would the more effectually invite 


486 [The text in this passage is very corrupt. Three mss. have ouketl OKtoXi]^ 6 aio0r|T6c; XupaivETai. . .aXXa 
6 xrjc; Succuoauvrn;. But as Field says, ookioXi]^ xfjc; diKaLoauvrp; (“the worm of righteousness”) seems “ absur - 
dissimum.” Three other mss. give the reading which we have adopted: “No longer the earthly worm,” &c., “but 
that which dwelleth eternally with fire,” aXX’ ora) ropiauvSiaLuviboviiirdc; XupaivErai. Field, in his text, follows 
a single ms., and emends even that. — G.A.] 

487 avtoGev. 

488 (fu>aaaTov,fossatum. 


309 


Ephesians 6:14 


them on; and so then, if we be in our senses, neither shall we. The present life is nothing 
else than a march and an encampment. 

Wherefore, I beseech you, let us do all we can, so as to lay up no treasure here; for if the 
thief should come, we must in a moment arise and depart. “Watch,” saith He, “for ye know 
not at what hour the thief cometh” (Matt. xxiv. 42, 43.), thus naming death. O then, before 
he cometh, let us send away everything before us to our native country; but here let us be 
“well girded,” that we may be enabled to overcome our enemies, whom God grant that we 
may overcome, through the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom 
together with the Holy Ghost, be unto the Father glory, strength, honor forever and ever. 
Amen. 


310 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


Homily XXIV. 

Ephesians vi. 14-17 

“Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having on the breastplate of right- 
eousness; and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal 
taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the 
evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word 
of God.” 

“Having girded your loins,” saith he, “with truth.” What can be the meaning of this? I 
have stated in the preceding discourse, that he ought to be lightly accoutered, in order that 
there should be no impediment whatever to his running. 

“And having on,” he continues, “the breastplate of righteousness.” As the breastplate is 
impenetrable, so also is righteousness, and by righteousness here he means a life of universal 
virtue. 489 Such a life no one shall ever be able to overthrow; it is true, many wound him, 
but no one cuts through him, no, not the devil himself. It is as though one were to say, 
“having righteous deeds fixed in the breast”; of these it is that Christ saith, “Blessed are they 
that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.” (Matt. v. 6.) Thus is he 
firm and strong like a breastplate. Such a man will never be put out of temper. 

“And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” It is more un- 
certain in what sense this was said. What then is its meaning? They are noble greaves, 
doubtless, with which he invests us. Either then he means this, that we should be prepared 
for the gospel, and should make use of our feet for this, and should prepare and make ready 
its way before it; 490 or if not this, at least that we ourselves should be prepared for our de- 
parture. “The preparation,” then, “of the gospel of peace,” is nothing else than a most virtuous 
life; according to what the Prophet saith. “Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause 
thine ear to hear.” (Ps. x. 17.) “Of the gospel,” he says, “of peace,” and with reason; for 
inasmuch as he had made mention of warfare and fighting, he shows us that this conflict 
with the evil spirits we must needs have: for the gospel is “the gospel of peace”; this war 


489 [“‘Righteousness’ here is Christian moral rectitude (Rom. vi. 13.), inasmuch as, justified by faith, we are 
dead to sin and live in newness of life (Rom. vi. 4.). As previously the ‘intellectual’ rectitude of the Christian was 
denoted by dXf|0£ia, so here his ‘moral’ rectitude by diKaioouvr].” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

490 [“This means ‘readiness,’ the ready mind; not, however, for the proclamation of the gospel, as Chrysostom 
and others, — since in fact Paul is addressing fellow-Christians, and not fellow-teachers, — but the readiness for 
the conflict in question which the gospel bestows. And it is the gospel of peace, for the gospel proclaims peace 
(Rom. v. 1; Philip, i. 20.), and thereby produces consecration of courageous ‘readiness’ for the conflict (Rom. 
viii. 31, 38, 39.).” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


311 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


which we have against them, puts an end to another war, that, namely, which is between us 
and God; if we are at war with the devil, we are at peace with God. Fear not therefore, beloved; 
it is a “gospel,” that is, a word of good news; already is the victory won. 

“Withal taking up the shield of faith.” 

By “faith” in this place, he means, not knowledge, (for that he never would have ranged 
last,) but that gift by which miracles are wrought. 491 And with reason does he term this 
“‘faith’ a shield”; for as the shield is put before the whole body, as if it were a sort of rampart, 
just so is this faith; for all things yield to it. 

“Wherewith ye shall be able,” saith he, “to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.” 

For this shield nothing shall be able to resist; for hearken to what Christ saith to His 
disciples, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove 
hence to yonder place, and it shall remove.” (Matt. xvii. 20.) But how are we to have this 
faith? When we have rightly performed all those duties. 

“By the darts of the evil one,” he means, both temptations, and vile desires; and “fiery,” 
he says, for such is the character of these desires. Yet if faith can command the evil spirits, 
much more can it also the passions of the soul. 

“And take the helmet,” he continues, “of salvation,” that is, of your salvation. For he is 
casing them in armor. 

“And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” He either means the Spirit, or 
else, “the spiritual sword”: for by this 492 all things are severed, by this all things are cleft 
asunder, by this we cut off even the serpent’s head. 

Ver. 18, 19, 20. “With all prayer and supplication,” saith he, “praying at all seasons in 
the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints; 
and on my behalf that utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth to make 
known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, 
that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” 

As the word of God has power to do all things, so also has he who has the spiritual gift. 
“For the word of God,” saith he, “is living, and active and sharper than any two-edged 
sword.” (Heb. iv. 12.) Now mark the wisdom of this blessed Apostle. He hath armed them 
with all security. What then is necessary after that? To call upon the King, that He may 
stretch forth His hand. “With all prayer, and supplication, praying at all seasons in the 
Spirit”; for it is possible “to pray” not “in the Spirit,” when one “uses vain repetitions” (Matt. 


491 [This interpretation does not suit the context. “Faith is here saving faith, bringing assurance of forgiveness 
and future blessedness.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 

492 [It simply means the sword which “is furnished by the Holy Spirit,” and this sword, as the apostle himself 
declares, is the word of God, the gospel, which the Holy Spirit brings vividly to the consciousness of the Chris- 
tian. — Meyer and Ellicott. — G.A.] 


312 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


vi. 7.); “and watching thereunto,” he adds, that is, keeping sober; for such ought the armed 
warrior, he that stands at the King’s side, to be; wakeful and temperate: — “in all perseverance 
and supplication for all the saints; and on my behalf that utterance may be given unto me 
in opening my mouth.” What sayest thou, blessed Paul? Hast thou, then, need of thy disciples? 
And well does he say, “in opening my mouth.” He did not then study what he used to say, 
but according to what Christ said, “When they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what 
ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak” (Matt. x. 19.): so 
truly did he do everything by faith, everything by grace. “With boldness,” he proceeds, “to 
make known the mystery of the Gospel”; that is, that I may answer for myself in its defense, 
as I ought. And art thou bound in thy chain, and still needest the aid of others? Yea, saith 
he, for so was Peter also bound in his chain, and yet nevertheless “was prayer made earnestly 
for him.” (Acts xii. 5.) “For which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak 
boldly, as I ought to speak”; that is, that I may answer with confidence, with courage, with 
great prudence. 

Ver. 21. “But that ye also 493 may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved 
brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things.” 

As soon as he had mentioned his chains, he leaves something for Tychicus also to relate 
to them of his own accord. For whatever topics there were of doctrine and of exhortation, 
all these he explained by his letter: but what were matters of bare recital, these he entrusted 
to the bearer of the letter. “That ye may know my affairs,” that is, may be informed of them. 
This manifests both the love which he entertained towards them, and their love towards 
him. 

Ver. 22. “Whom I have sent unto you,” saith he, “for this very purpose, that ye may 
know our state, and that he may comfort your hearts.” 

This language he employs, not without a purpose, but in consequence of what he had 
been saying previously; “having girded your loins, having on the breastplate,” See., which 
are a token of a constant and unceasing advance; for hear what the Prophet saith, “Let it be 
unto him as the raiment wherewith he covereth himself, and for the girdle wherewith he is 
girded continually” (Ps. cix. 19.); and the Prophet Isaiah again saith, that God hath “put on 
righteousness as a breastplate” (Isa. lix. 17.); by these expressions instructing us that these 
are things which we must have, not for a short time only, but continually, inasmuch as there 
is continual need of warfare. “For it is said the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. xxviii. 
1.) For he that is armed with such a breastplate, it cannot be that he should fear the array 
that is against him, but he will leap into the midst of the enemy. And again Isaiah saith, 
“How beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings.” (Isa. hi. 7.) Who would not 


493 [“Ye also,” as well as the Colossians (Col. iv. 8, 9.). Meyer’s Introd. sec. 2. The kcil, on supposition of pri- 
ority of Colossians, admits of an easy and natural explanation. — Ellicott. — G.A.] 


313 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


run, who would not serve in such a cause; to publish the good tidings of peace, peace between 
God and man, peace, where men have toiled not, but where God hath wrought all? 

But what is the “preparation of the Gospel”? 494 Let us hearken to what John saith, “Make 
ye ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” (Matt. iii. 3.) But again there is need 
also of another “preparation” after baptism, so that we may do nothing unworthy of “peace.” 
And then, since the feet are usually a token of the way of life, hence he is constantly exhorting 
in this language, “Look, therefore, carefully how ye walk.” (Eph. v. 15.) On this account, he 
would say, let us exhibit a practice and example worthy of the Gospel; that is, make our life 
and conduct pure. The good tidings of peace have been proclaimed to you, give to these 
good tidings a ready way; since if ye again become enemies, there is no more “preparation 
of peace.” Be ready, be not backward to embrace this peace. As ye were ready and disposed 
for peace and faith, so also continue. The shield is that which first receives the assaults of 
the adversary, and preserves the armor uninjured. So long then as faith be right and the life 
be right, the armor remains uninjured. 

He discourses, however, much concerning faith, but most especially in writing to the 
Hebrews, as he does also concerning hope. Believe, saith he, in the good things to come, 
and none of this armor shall be injured. In dangers, in toils, by holding out thy hope and 
thy faith to protect thee, thou wilt preserve thy armor uninjured. “He that cometh to God 
must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that seek after Him.” (Heb. xi. 6.) 
Faith is a shield; but wherever there are quibbles, and reasonings, and scrutinizings, then is 
it no longer a shield, but it impedes us. Let this our faith be such as shall cover and screen 
the whole frame. Let it not then be scanty, so as to leave the feet or any other part exposed, 
but let the shield be commensurate with the whole body. 

“Fiery 495 darts.” For many doubtful reasonings there are, which set the soul, as it were, 
on fire, many difficulties, many perplexities, but all of them faith sets entirely at rest; many 
things does the devil dart in, to inflame our soul and bring us into uncertainty; as, for ex- 
ample, when some persons say, “Is there then a resurrection?” “Is there a judgment?” “Is 
there a retribution?” “But is there faith?” the apostle would say, “thou shaft with it quench 
the darts of the devil. Has any base lust assaulted thee? Hold before thee thy faith in the 
good things to come, and it will not even show itself, yea, it will perish.” “All the darts”; not 
some quenched, and others not. Hearken to what Paul saith, “For I reckon that the sufferings 
of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed to 
us-ward.” (Rom. viii. 18.) Seest thou how many darts the righteous quenched in those days? 


494 [After having treated this part of the chapter, our author now returns to it, and supplements what he has 
already said. — G.A.] 

495 [“The aim of this predicate is to present in strong colors the hostile and destructive character of the 
Satanic assaults; but more special explanations of its import are inappropriate.” — Meyer. — G.A.] 


314 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


Seemeth it not to thee to be “fiery darts,” when the patriarch burned with inward fire, as he 
was offering up his son? Yea, and other righteous men also have quenched “all his darts.” 
Whether then they be reasonings that assault us, let us hold out this; or whether they be 
base desires, let us use this; or whether again labors and distresses, upon this let us repose. 
Of all the other armor, this is the safeguard; if we have not this, they will be quickly pierced 
through. “Withal,” saith he, “taking up the shield of faith.” What is the meaning of “withal”? 
It means both “in truth,” and “in righteousness,” and “in the preparation of the gospel”; that 
is to say, all these have need of the aid of faith. 

And therefore he adds further, “and take the helmet of salvation”; that is to say, finally 
by this shall ye be able to be in security. To receive the helmet of salvation is to escape the 
peril. For as the helmet covers the head perfectly in every part, and suffers it not to sustain 
any injury, but preserves it, so also does faith supply alike the place of a shield, and of a 
helmet 496 to preserve us. For if we quench his darts, quickly shall we receive also those 
saving thoughts that suffer not our governing principle 497 to sustain any harm; for if these, 
the thoughts that are adverse to our salvation, are quenched, those which are not so, but 
which contribute to our salvation, and inspire us with good hopes, will be generated within 
us, and will rest upon our governing principle, as a helmet does upon the head. 

And not only this, but we shall take also “the sword of the Spirit,” and thus not only 
ward off his missiles, but smite the devil himself. For a soul that does not despair of herself, 
and is proof against those fiery darts, will stand with all intrepidity to face the enemy, and 
will cleave open his breastplate with this very sword with which Paul also burst through it, 
and “brought into captivity his devices” (2 Cor. x. 5.); he will cut off and behead the serpent. 

“Which is the word of God.” 

By the “word of God” in this place, he means on the one hand the ordinance of God, 
or the word of command; or on the other that it is in the Name of Christ. For if we keep his 
commandments, by these we shall kill and slay the dragon himself, “the crooked serpent.” 
(Isa. xxvii. 1 .) And as he said, “Ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the evil one”; that 
he might not puff them up, he shows them, that above all things they stand in need of God; 
for what does he say? 

“With all prayer and supplication,” he says, these things shall be done, and ye shall ac- 
complish all by praying. But when thou drawest near, never ask for thyself only: thus shalt 
thou have God favorable to thee. 


496 [Faith is not the helmet. Chrysostom’s exegesis of the parts of the armor is not clear. Salvation is the helmet; 
for tou otoTripiou is a genitive of apposition. Receive the helmet, which is salvation. “This salvation,” says Ellicott, 
“is not any ideal possession, as Meyer holds. Salvation in Christ forms the subject of faith; in faith it is apprehen- 
ded, and becomes in a certain sense a present possession.” — G.A.] 

497 to ijyepovLKOv. 


315 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


“With all prayer and supplication, praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching 
thereunto in all perseverance for all the saints.” Limit it not, I say, to certain times of the 
day, for hear what he is saying; approach at all times; “pray,” saith he, “without ceasing.” (1 
Thess. v. 17.) Hast thou never heard of that widow, how by her importunity she prevailed? 
(Luke xviii. 1-7.) Hast thou never heard of that friend, who at midnight shamed his friend 
into yielding by his perseverance? (Luke xi. 5-8.) Hast thou not heard of the Syrophoenician 
woman (Mark vii. 25-30.), how by the constancy of her entreaty she called forth the Lord’s 
compassion? These all of them gained their object by their importunity. 

“Praying at all seasons,” saith he, “in the Spirit.” 

That is to say, let us seek for the things which are according to God, nothing of this 
world, nothing pertaining to this life. 

Therefore, is there need not only that we “pray without ceasing,” but also, that we should 
do so “watching; — and watching,” saith he, “thereunto.” Whether he is here speaking of vi- 
gils; 498 or of the wakefulness of the soul, I admit both meanings. Seest thou how that 
Canaanitish woman watched unto prayer? and though the Lord gave her no answer, nay, 
even shook her off, and called her a dog, she said, “Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the 
crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (Matt. xv. 27.), and desisted not until she ob- 
tained her request. How, too, did that widow cry, and persist so long, until she was able to 
shame into yielding that ruler, that neither feared God, nor regarded man (Luke xviii. 1-7.)? 
And how, again, did the friend persist, remaining before the door in the dead of night, till 
he shamed the other into yielding by his importunity, and made him arise. (Luke xi. 5-8.) 
This is to be watchful. 

Wouldest thou understand what watchfulness in prayer is? Go to Hannah, hearken to 
her very words, “AdonaiEloiSabaoth.” (1 Sam. i. 11.) Nay, rather, hear what preceded those 
words; “they all rose up,” says the history, “from the table” (1 Sam. i. 9.), and she, forthwith, 
did not betake herself to sleep, nor to repose. Whence she appears to me even when she was 
sitting at the table to have partaken lightly, and not to have been made heavy with viands. 
Otherwise never could she have shed so many tears; for if we, when we are fasting and 
foodless, hardly pray thus, or rather never pray thus, much more would not she ever have 
prayed thus after a meal, unless even at the meal she had been as they that eat not. Let us be 
ashamed, us that are men, at the example of this woman; let us be ashamed, that are suing 
and gasping for a kingdom, at her, praying and weeping for a little child. “And she stood,” 
it says, “before the Lord” (1 Sam. i. 10.); and what are her words? “Adonai, Lord, Eloi 
Sabaoth!” and this is, being interpreted, “O Lord, the God of Hosts.” Her tears went before 
her tongue; by these she hoped to prevail with God to bend to her request. Where tears are, 



498 7tavvuxi5a(;. St. Chrysostom often speaks of vigils, which were Church Services extending past midnight 
into the morning; vid. Horn, in Esai. i. 1, iv. 1, etc.; vid. Bingham, Antiqu. xiii. 9, § 4. 


316 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


there is always affliction also: where affliction is, there is great wisdom and heedfulness. “If 
thou wilt indeed,” she continues, “look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and wilt give 
unto thine handmaid a man child, then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.” 
(1 Sam. i. 11.) She said not, “for one year,” or, “for two,” as we do; — nor said she, “if thou 
wilt give me a child, I will give thee money”; but, “I give back to Thee the very gift itself entire, 
my first-born, the son of my prayer.” Truly here was a daughter of Abraham. He gave when 
it was demanded of him. She offers even before it is demanded. 

But observe even after this her deep reverence. “Only her lips moved, but her voice,” it 
saith, “was not heard.” (1 Sam. i. 13.) And thus does he who would gain his request draw 
nigh unto God; not consulting his ease, nor gaping, nor lounging, nor scratching his head, 
nor with utter listlessness. What, was not God able to grant, even without any prayer at all? 
What, did He not know the woman’s desire even before she asked? And yet had He granted 
it before she asked, then the woman’s earnestness would not have been shown, her virtue 
would not have been made manifest, she would not have gained so great a reward. So that 
the delay is not the result of envy or of witchcraft, but of providential kindness. When 
therefore ye hear the Scripture saying, that “the Lord had shut up her womb” (ver. 5, 6.), 
and that, “her rival provoked her sore”; consider that it is His intention to prove the woman’s 
seriousness. 499 For, mark, she had a husband devoted to her, for he said (ver. 8.), “Am I not 
better to thee than ten sons?” “And her rival,” it saith, “provoked her sore,” that is, reproached 
her, insulted over her. And yet did she never once retaliate, nor utter imprecation against 
her, nor say, “Avenge me, for my rival reviles me.” The other had children, but this woman 
had her husband’s love to make amends. With this at least he even consoled her, saying, 
“Am not I better to thee than ten sons?” 

But let us look, again, at the deep wisdom of this woman. “And Eli,” it says, “thought 
she had been drunken.” (Ver. 13.) Yet observe what she says to him also, “Nay, count not 
thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial, for out of the abundance of my complaint and my 
provocation have I spoken hitherto.” (Ver. 16.) Here is truly the proof of a contrite heart, 
when we are not angry with those that revile us, when we are not indignant against them, 
when we reply but in self-defense. Nothing renders the heart so wise as affliction; nothing 
is there so sweet as “godly mourning.” (2 Cor. vii. 10.) “Out of the abundance,” saith she, 
“of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken hitherto.” Her let us imitate, one and 
all. Hearken, ye that are barren, hearken, ye that desire children, hearken, both husbands 
and wives; yes, for husbands, too, used oftentimes to contribute their part; for hear what 
the Scripture saith, “And Isaac intreated the Lord for Rebekah his wife, because she was 
barren.” (Gen. xxv. 21.) For prayer is able to accomplish great things. 


499 cpiXoaocpiav. 


317 


Ephesians 6:14-17 


“With all prayer and supplication,” saith he, “for all the saints, and for me,” placing 
himself last. What doest thou, O blessed Paul, in thus placing thyself last? Yea, saith he, “that 
utterance may be given unto me, in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the 
mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains.” And where art thou an 
ambassador? “To mankind,” saith he. Oh! amazing lovingkindness of God! He sent from 
Heaven in His own Name ambassadors for peace, and lo, men took them, and bound them, 
and reverenced not so much as the law of nations, that an ambassador never suffers any 
hurt. “But, however, I am an ambassador in bonds. The chain lies like a bridle upon me, 
restraining my boldness, but your prayer shall open my mouth” in order that I may speak 
all things I was sent to speak. 

“But that ye also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, the beloved brother, and 
faithful minister in the Lord, shall m